Last Saturday (July 23) an scientist was assassinated in Tehran. Initial reports indicated he was a nuclear engineer who was part of Iran's covert nuclear weapons program...and who was assassinated as part of the ongoing efforts by the West to thwart Iran's attempts to acquire nuclear weapons.
Iran vigorously denied the individual had any part in their nuclear program. They described him as a master's-level university student who was married with a child. And they pictured his assassination as a case of mistaken identify...and terrorism. This position was reported in many media outlets, and the story largely disappeared from the news.
However, one day after the assassination Debka, an Israeli web site, posted an article refuting Iran's claims and stating the man had indeed been an Iranian scientist who had been helping design a detonator for a nuclear bomb. No mainstream media picked up on the Debka report...until yesterday. An article finally appeared in Haaretz stating that officials have finally admitted the man was a scientist involved in developing high-voltage switches needed to trigger a nuclear warhead.
I see two lessons coming from this story. First, we need to understand there is a serious, though largely covert, war taking place between Iran and the West. The West is doing everything possible--short of active military intervention--to stop the Iranians from developing nuclear weapons. The Stuxnet virus and targeted assassinations of key nuclear scientists are part of these covert operations. And they are likely to continue--and increase--as Iran pushes toward a nuclear threshold.
Second, we need to realize Iran has been using--and will continue to use--every means possible to distort and cover up the real extent of their nuclear program...and any impact the West is having in disrupting it. Iran downplayed the impact of the Stuxnet virus, and they have now tried to deny the involvement of the scientist who was assassinated. This was not a case of mistaken identity. The assassination targeted a specific individual who was evidently developing a key element of the triggering device for a nuclear bomb.
A life-and-death struggle over the future of the Middle East is being waged...though most people aren't even aware of the battle. And the truth won't always be found simply by reading the news headlines!