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An Iranian nuclear scientist was killed yesterday in an attack similar to those carried out on other scientists. Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan is the fifth scientist to mysteriously die. The killing is the latest in a long list of apparent covert operations in recent months to stall Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
Iran describes Roshan as the “deputy in charge of commerce” at its Natanz enrichment facility and immediately blamed “the Zionist regime” for his death. Two individuals attached and detonated a magnetic bomb to his car in Tehran outside of Allameh Tabatai University, killing him and his bodyguard. Roshan was a lecturer at the university.
At Natanz, Roshan was in charge of procuring equipment. The fact that he had a bodyguard shows he had an important role. His death comes just one day after the Israeli military’s chief of staff said that 2012 is a “critical year” for Iran and referred to “events that happen unnaturally.” Indeed, the past few months has seen a huge rise in “accidents” and other “unnatural” events affecting Iran’s nuclear program and the regime’s pillars of strength.
On December 22, the Iranian regime claimed that its oil depot in Abadan was hit with a rocket. It is located in the Arab-populated Khuzestan Province, so it may have been launched by locals that often clash with the regime. The attack came just two weeks after Iran announced that it would spend $800 million to increase its gasoline output by 12,500 barrels per day by February.
The covert operations aren’t just aimed at nuclear sites and their staff. The Washington Post says that there has been a “fivefold increase in explosions at refineries and gas pipelines since 2010.” There were three explosions at gas pipelines in 2009. In 2010, it was 17. In February, three gas pipelines near Qom were hit with explosions. In April, another three explosions in the same area happened. In July, a pipeline to Turkey was struck, and three more pipelines suffered blasts within the first two weeks of August.
On December 15, Israel carried out a secret air strike on a convoy in Sudan headed to Hamas. It was carrying weapons from Iran. At least six Land Cruiser jeeps were destroyed and four were killed. There was reportedly another strike in Sudan in early December that destroyed at least one truck.
On December 11, a mysterious explosion happened at a steel plant in Yazd that almost no one reported on. The blast killed 7 people and wounded 12. Among the casualties were unidentified foreigners. The site has not been publicly tied to Iran’s nuclear program, so it indicates the perpetrators had access to classified information. Michael Ledeen wrote that the plant made the material for nose cones for ballistic missiles. Other reports said the steel can be used in making exhaust systems. A German news outlet reported in November that North Korea was providing Iran and Syria with maraging steel for centrifuges.
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