The assassination of Iran’s top nuclear scientist has a number of implications for the U.S., including making it difficult or even impossible for an eventual President Joe Biden to return to former President Barack Obama’s 2015 Iran deal, an opinion columnist for the Washington Examiner argued Friday.
Iran has accused Israel of carrying out the attack, and in his article, commentator Tom Rogan agrees with that premise. According to Rogan, the Israeli Mossad’s alleged action against the leader of the military component of Iran’s nuclear program, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, was a clear signal to an incoming U.S. president that the Jewish nation will not stand by and let Iran get nuclear weapons.
When the threat of a second Holocaust seems like a “credible near-medium term threat,” Rogan said, Israel is going to act no matter what U.S. policymakers are saying.
While claiming that its only interest in nuclear development is for energy, Iran has been directing Fakhrizadeh to conduct nuclear weapons research. Mossad knew this, and Biden knew it, too.
Rogan also suggested that U.S. intelligence was likely involved in the operation to take out Fakhrizadeh at some level, based on President Donald Trump’s retweeting of reports and analysis of the attack.
It’s possible that the U.S. used its unique surveillance tools to share knowledge about Fakhrizadeh’s convoy and that it used NSA assets to disrupt Iranian security force communications, Rogan suggested.
Rogan doesn’t think an operation this complex could have been done without infiltrating Fakhrizadeh’s inner circle, however. After all, the attackers were able to use explosives to stop the convoy, shoot and kill Fakhrizadeh, and clear the area without getting caught.
The U.S. should expect Iran to retaliate for this attack at some point, and their retaliation could very well include the U.S.
Iran is very aware that the foreign policy of the U.S. and Israel is intertwined, and especially so now after four years with Trump as president. Trump has been the most pro-Israel president in decades and has even moved to directly help Israel by killing top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani at the beginning of the year.
Time will tell
While this assassination definitely didn’t help relations between Iran and the Israel/U.S. alliance, Rogan doesn’t think further action by Israel and/or the U.S. will be imminent.
Even Israel isn’t likely to act further unless it feels backed into a corner and sees no other way to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons, Rogan agreed.
Assuming Trump is unable to prevent Biden from getting inaugurated on January 20, it will be interesting to see how Biden formulates his own Middle East policy and whether he is able to keep things peaceful as Trump has done while projecting strength.