The assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists are backfiring

A journalist in Tehran told The Daily Beast under the condition of anonymity that he was shocked when he heard news of the assassination. “When I talk to people, they feel insulted that a foreign state would come and murder an Iranian citizen to cheers and nods from others,” he said. “These assassinations are a great gift to the Iranian government and military, who can now push their agendas forward with them. The Iranian government could not be helped any better; it can now present its nuclear program as legitimate and to cry foul.”

Mohsen Sazegara, an influential opposition figure based in Washington who has advocated civil disobedience against the Iranian government, said that although American, British, and Israeli authorities deny any involvement in these operations, Tehran considers sabotage and the assassinations acts of Western intelligence services and Israel’s Mossad. He said such incidents are very telling about Iran…

But pro-democracy forces in Iran, which have been under extreme pressure since the disputed 2009 presidential election, say the assassinations are likely to backfire against the West—enhancing the military state by legitimizing the nuclear program in the eyes of the Iranian people. It doesn’t seem to matter to them if the Mojahedin-e Khalgh Organization, an opposition group (known as the MKO) which is on the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations, is responsible, or the Israelis, or anyone else.