An Iranian plan to kill the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. comes after a wave of mysterious assassinations in Iran targeting suspected nuclear scientists there
Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili at a press conference in Geneva in front of a picture of Majid Shahriari, a prominent nuclear scientist killed in a bomb attack / Reuters
The indictment last week of two Iranian nationals suspected of planning a bomb attack against a Saudi diplomat, if true, would be just the latest in a number of mysterious assassinations in the ongoing intelligence activities between Iran and the outside world. The Washington plot has prompted the U.S. to announce its intentions to push the International Atomic Energy Agency to publish more explicit data on a possible Iranian nuclear weapons program in a report due out next month. A number of Iranian scientists suspected of being involved in the alleged nuclear weapons program have been killed under unusual circumstances, most recently this summer. Although the current evidence does not suggest that the Washington plot was linked to these assassinations, extrajudicial killings and the work of intelligence services infer their own story about, and are a product of, the current stand-off between Iran, the West, and Iran's rivals in the Middle East.
On 23 July 2011, Darioush Rezaeinejad was shot dead in Tehran, on his way to fetch his daughter from kindergarten, by two masked gunmen on motorcycles. Outside Iran, the most common interpretation was that Rezaienejad had been assassinated because of his work on a suspected covert Iranian nuclear weapons effort. Assassination attempts had been made on researchers connected to Iran's suspected covert nuclear weapons program before, but they had all been physicists. Rezaeinejad was different: he was young, pre-doctoral, and not a physicist.