Is it terrorism when governments do it?
The other day, on Gol Nabi street, in Tehran, Iran, Mostafa Roshan was on his way to work when he was killed by a magnetic bomb which had apparently been attached to his Peugeot by a motorcyclist. Mr. Roshan was a manager at Natanz, a uranium enrichment site. The New York Times reports that this is the fourth such bombing in two years.
Iranian authorities blamed the incident on the US and Israel. The US was quick to strongly deny any involvement but the Israeli reaction was less than categorical. Brig. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, of the Israeli Army, said, “…I am definitely not shedding a tear” which sounds more like a (barely) muted endorsement.
Of course, the US and Israel are dead set against Iran developing the capability to deploy nuclear weapons and it would appear that this may encompass acts of terror on the streets of the Iranian capital where innocent civilians are put at risk. If either the US or Israel are in any way complicit, it would be ironic given Israel’s own experience with Palestinian suicide bombers and Oklahoma City, WTC93 and 9/11 in the US. After all, in the realm of state sponsored terrorism, turnabout is surely fair play.
Countries engaging in nefarious activities abroad as part of their policy initiatives, especially countries that claim to be democratic, forfeit the moral high ground, particularly when civilians are placed at risk.
Mostafa Roshan has similarities to the 2006 London poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko, a former Russian KGB and FSB agent and vocal Putin critic. Litvinenko met Andrei K. Lugovoi, who had flown in from Moscow, at the Millennium Hotel on Mayfair’s Grosvenor Square for tea. He got far more than he bargained for. British Police and Scotland Yard are “100% sure” that Lugovoi spiked Litvinenko’s tea with polonium-210, an alpha-emitter which is rare and very hard to detect. After his death-by-radiation poisoning, police traced the polonium to the hotel, other rooms where Lugovoi had stayed, even the commercial aircraft he flew in. Thousands of people were exposed unknowingly. Russian-inspired terrorism on foreign soil exacted a heavy toll.
And, some will remember that right here in Washington, DC, in September of 1976, Orlando Letelier, a Chilean who had sought refuge from Pinochet’s terror, was killed along with an American, Ronni Moffitt, in a car bombing on Sheridan Circle. The bombing was carried out by DINA, a Chilean group with ties to Operation Condor, a terror program in South America with US support that killed an estimated 60,000 people.
Regarding the most recent bombing in Tehran, Patrick Clawson, of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, had this to say, “Sabotage and assassination is the way to go…” It can only be hoped that American “experts” who advocate acts of terror where innocent lives will be jeopardized have first hand experience with the death, pain and suffering they speak so casually about. In fact, people talking tough about such acts should probably have one arm, one leg or an eye patch as evidence that they know whereof they speak.
But, I doubt that is the case.
Credits: NYT, Telegraph, Wiki