US nuclear scientist considers assassination of Iranian utterly despicable

It’s unclear who assassinated Iranian  nuclear scientist Mostafa Roshan by driving by his car on a motorcycle, placing a magnetized explosive designed to damage the inside of the car but not the outside, and then speeding off through the packed traffic by lane-splitting. Some Iranians have their opinions:

Thousands of mourners chanted “Death to Israel” and “Death to America” on Friday during the funeral of a slain nuclear expert whom Iranian officials accuse the two nations of killing in a bomb blast this week as part of a secret operation to stop Iran’s nuclear program.

The Washington Post

Even some western experts have claimed that it must be Israel:

“If you look at the choice of target, it really could only be Israel,” says Robert Baer, a former CIA agent in the Middle East.

On the other hand, some suspect that certain factions of the Iranian state could have done it due to their suspicious of disloyalty and involvement with western institutions. And in that case, the following message is basically irrelevant.

Perspective: I’m a run-of-the-mill US nuclear scientist working on advanced nuclear reactors to help mankind get energy to improve quality of life.

If Israel and/or other western-like states did this, shame on them. Covertly killing scientists is nothing but counter-productive towards any imaginable goal. The enraged Iranians will likely place a more pressing national priority on developing nuclear weapons, and make it even more secret. In this case, you’re not scaring people from going into the industry, but instead you’re inspiring them to become national heroes. You’re not causing meaningful set-backs in terms of Iranian expertise, the industrial knowledge to manufacture weapons is somewhat well-known. All you’re doing is justifying their quest for nuclear weapons (who would risk losing a major city for one botched assassination attempt?) and making them more angry with the oppressively powerful west.

Countries with nuclear weapons are acting like overgrown bullies on the playground who got held back a few grades. When some less powerful country tries to pick up a stick, the bully smashes it out of his hands and says: only bullies can have sticks. The non-proliferation treaty was meant to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons AND to reduce the nuclear capabilities of the nuclear states to minimal levels. The latter has not happened (as is thoroughly detailed in this wonderful book). I fully understand and support non-proliferation, and accordingly I would like to see more reasonable attempts at stopping the spread. Until we live in a world where all nations can be comfortable in their sovereignty, the non-nuclear states will try to get nuclear weapons. The posturing we’re seeing now, and this and other similar assassinations will only lead to more people trying to get nuclear weapons, in any possible aftermath. These are the most horribly destructive weapons known to man, and indirectly promoting their spread by bickering about minutia and/or invading countries for minor reasons is an extreme disservice to mankind. You’re nourishing seeds that will last for generations telling people that they aren’t safe until they have nuclear weapons.

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