Author Archive

Yes, Israel can attack Iran

January 8, 2022

I haven’t copied across all the info to be found at the link below – the site owner deserves to get the traffic so hit the link for an interesting piece of analysis!

Yes, Israel can attack Iran 1 December 2021

https://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2021/12/yes-israel-can-attack-iran-vic-rosenthal.html

But I will highlight these 2 paragraphs:

It seems to me that despite what Melman and others have said, Israel does have options to attack Iran. One approach is to paralyze the regime as a whole: cut off the head by killing the leadership, and cut the spinal cord by wrecking her communications and power infrastructure (perhaps with EMP weapons). Not everything must be done by manned aircraft: drones, submarine-launched missiles, Jericho ICBMs, and even special forces on the ground could take part. In this way, Iran can be taken out of the game without the need to destroy all her nuclear facilities at once. This also entails neutralizing Hezbollah at the same time, which might be the most difficult part.

There are other approaches, but rather than the surgical removal of the nuclear program, I prefer an attack targeting the regime because it will also lead to solutions to other problems, like Hezbollah. Possibly if the regime is hurt badly enough, the domestic Iranian opposition will be free to act, which could bring about the best outcome of all.

This is something that I have always thought – Israel, in attacking Iran, doesn’t need to destroy all the nuke sites straight away. They aren’t going anywhere so can be dealt with accordingly. Best to disable the Iranian threat first (ie leadership). An EMP weapon (delivered by Jericho missile) would be an awesome option were Israel to decide to use one (and if they have such a weapon). Although it would need to be a non-nuclear EMP weapon – setting off an atomic bomb 30km above Iran would cause immense blowback from around the world. A non-nuclear EMP weapon (of equivalent power to a nuclear one) is the holy grail of weapons for Israel to use. I hope they have some smart jews working on this…

Truth behind killing of Iran scientist

January 7, 2022

Article is almost a year old, but contains a lot of interesting details.

https://www.thejc.com/news/world/world-exclusive-truth-behind-killing-of-iran-nuclear-scientist-mohsen-fakhrizadeh-revealed-1.511653

Top nuclear expert was killed by the Mossad, who used a one-ton remote-controlled gun smuggled into Iran piece by piece over eight months, the JC can disclose

The Iranian nuclear scientist who was shot dead near Tehran in November was killed by a one-ton automated gun that was smuggled into the country piece-by-piece by the Mossad, the JC can reveal.

The 20-plus spy team, which comprised both Israeli and Iranian nationals, carried out the high-tech hit after eight months of painstaking surveillance, intelligence sources disclosed.

The Tehran regime has secretly assessed that it will take six years before a replacement for top scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh is fully operational.

Meanwhile, Israeli analysts have concluded that his death has extended the period of time it would take Iran to achieve a bomb from about three-and-a-half months to two years — with senior intelligence figures privately putting it as high as five years.

The disclosures come as the JC gives the fullest account yet of the assassination that made headlines around the world and significantly degraded Tehran’s nuclear capabilities.

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, 59, known as the “father of the bomb”, lost his life in a burst of 13 bullets as he travelled with his wife and 12 bodyguards in Absard, near Tehran, on 27 November last year.

Neither his wife nor any of his security team were harmed in the attack, which was carried out using a hyper-accurate automated weapon in order to protect civilians from collateral damage.

Since Fakhrizadeh’s death, speculation has been rife about his killers, with no intelligence agency claiming responsibility for the murder. The circumstances of the killing have also been shrouded in mystery, with wild reports wrongly blaming a team of 62 gunmen.

Now the JC can confirm that Israel’s feared spy agency was behind the hit, which was carried out by mounting the killing device in a Nissan pickup.

The bespoke weapon, operated remotely by agents on the ground as they observed the target, was so heavy because it included a bomb that destroyed the evidence after the killing.

It was carried out by Israel alone, without American involvement, the JC has learnt. US officials were only given a “little clue, like checking the water temperature” prior to the attack, according to top international intelligence sources.

The audacious operation, which humiliated the Tehran leadership, succeeded partly because Iranian security services were too busy watching suspected political dissenters, sources said.

Jacob Nagel, one of Israel’s most senior defence officials who acted as Benjamin Netanyahu’s national security adviser, said: “The Mossad had documents proving that Fakhrizadeh had worked on several nuclear warheads, each one able to cause five Hiroshimas.

“He was serious. He still meant to do what he planned. So someone decided that he had had enough time on earth.”

LONG READ: Death from Mossad’s hyper-accurate gun

By Jake Wallis Simons, Deputy Editor

When Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, Iran’s “father of the bomb”, perished in a hail of bullets on the outskirts of Tehran in November, the assassination stunned the Iranian regime and made headlines around the world. But three months on, key questions remain unanswered.

Nobody even knows how the 59-year-old nuclear scientist was killed. Initial reports suggested he was gunned down by armed men; later, a Revolutionary Guards official blamed a “satellite-operated” gun using artificial intelligence.

Quite where such a device had come from, and how it had been set up, remained unexplained. To this day, nobody knows whether the operation was a snap move or had been planned for months. And despite many theories, no one knows exactly why he was killed.

Uncertainty also hangs over President Trump’s role in the hit. Some analysts argued that he was making his mark before leaving office, while others denied American involvement.

Most importantly of all — despite widespread speculation that Israel was responsible — nobody has pinned down the identity of those behind the killing.

Until now. Today, the JC can confirm that the hit was carried out by Mossad, Israel’s feared intelligence service. And in the most complete account of the operation yet published, we can reveal for the first time the answers to the questions that have eluded the world.

To understand the need for such a high-profile and high-risk operation, the plot must be traced back to the night of 31 January 2018, to a bleak commercial district on the outskirts of the Iranian capital, and a blinding flash of light inside a darkened warehouse.

That was the start of one of the most significant intelligence coups carried out by Mossad in recent times. After a year of surveillance, spies stole a vast archive of Iran’s nuclear secrets, using torches that burned bright at 2,000C to free the documents from 32 giant safes.

Starting with the black ringbinders containing the most vital information, the agents spirited away 50,000 pages of documents and 163 CDs containing the full details of Iran’s clandestine nuclear weapons programme.

Today, the nuclear archive — which Benjamin Netanyahu unveiled in a famous address at the Israeli Defence Ministry in 2018 — is housed in a forensically-secure unit at a secret location in Israel. Sources confirmed that the Jewish state is now using the intelligence it contained to persuade the Biden administration, via the International Atomic Energy Agency, that Tehran cannot be trusted to abide by the terms of any nuclear deal.

“We will base our arguments this time on pure intelligence, not politics,” an Israeli source said. “It will be cleaner to do that.” The secrets would not be new to the Americans, the source clarified, but Israeli officials would be offering their own interpretation and emphasis.

Earlier this month, the Mossad convened a meeting of its Brigadier-Generals to decide how to stop the US from entering another flawed nuclear deal that would only empower Iran. Israel believes that the 2015 Obama agreement, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), disastrously allowed Tehran to keep its nuclear programme intact, pausing it but not dismantling it. And it allowed the regime to siphon money to its numerous proxy militias as soon as sanctions were lifted, subjecting the region to years of havoc.

The archive suggested that Iran had failed to respect the terms of Obama’s bargain. Fast forward to 2021, and Israel hopes that it will convince Joe Biden not to repeat the errors made by his old friend, and maintain some semblance of Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign on the theocracy.

Operationally, however, the archive meant something else. As soon as Israeli analysts opened those black ringbinders back in 2018, they knew that Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was destined — to use Mossad slang — to “depart”.

“It contained original documents ordering the concealment of the nuclear programme, many of them in Fakhrizadeh’s handwriting,” a source said.

“Analysts realised they were looking at his ink, his fingerprints, his pressure on the paper as he wrote. He was the one who was behind the deception.

“Fakhrizadeh was the father of everything we found in the archive. All was under his command, from the science and the secret sites to the personnel and know-how. He had led an operation to hide it from the world. From that point, it was just a matter of time.”

The assassination plot went live in March 2020, as the world was preoccupied with the Coronavirus threat. A team of Israeli spies was dispatched to Iran, where it liaised with local agents.

The group was comprised of more than 20 operatives, a large number for such a complex and risky mission. A meticulous surveillance operation was launched. “The team built up an extremely detailed, minute-by-minute plan,” said a source. “For eight months, they breathed with the guy, woke up with him, slept with him, travelled with him. They would have smelled his aftershave every morning, if he had used aftershave.”

The decision was made to kill the scientist on the road leading east out of Tehran to the exclusive country retreat of Absard, where he owned a villa.

The team knew that Fakhrizadeh travelled there from Tehran on Fridays. “They knew his daily route, speed and timing, and they knew exactly which doors they would use to get out,” a source said.

The JC has confirmed that the assassins did indeed use a sophisticated remote-controlled gun, with a small bomb built in to allow it to self-destruct (though contrary to Iranian claims, it was not “satellite operated”).

Including the explosives, the bespoke device weighed one ton, and was smuggled into Iran in small pieces over several months. Then it was assembled and installed inside a Nissan pick-up truck, which was parked by the side of the road.

On 27 November, Fakhrizadeh was travelling with his wife in a black Opel saloon, in the midst of a convoy carrying 12 bodyguards. Unbeknownst to them, a team of Israeli spies was on the ground, watching their every move and waiting to operate the gun from a distance.

When the car passed the designated spot, they pressed the button and the hyper-accurate weapon opened fire. Thirteen bullets hit Fakhrizadeh head-on, while his wife, who was sitting 10 inches away, was not harmed.

Iranian authorities claimed that the scientist’s security chief was struck by four bullets as he threw himself across his boss. But sources close to the operation said this was untrue. Not a single one of Fakhrizadeh’s bodyguards, nor anybody aside from the scientist, was killed or injured, the JC can confirm.

“There were several ways to operate but this one was the most accurate,” a source said. “It was the most elegant way to make sure that the target will be hit, and only him. The objective was to avoid harming anyone else.” Claims that gunmen moved in to finish the scientist off were inaccurate, the source added.

As the Mossad team made its escape, the one-ton weapon blew itself up, adding to the confusion at the scene. “Thank God we got all our people out and they didn’t catch anyone. They didn’t even come close,” one of those familiar with the operation said. “Their security was not bad at all, but the Mossad was much better. It was a major thing that happened, a dramatic operation.”

The impact of the assassination was so profound that it surprised even the Mossad top brass. “Israel had a big team there, including Israelis, and it was a big embarrassment for Tehran,” a source said. “The regime was humiliated and devastated. Even the Mossad was surprised by the huge impact.

“The machine was quite an impressive thing. There was a team on the ground as well, which made it quite complicated. But it had to be done and it was worth it.”

The source disclosed: “It has hit the Iranians hard. Tehran has assessed that it will take six years to find a replacement for Fakhrizadeh. Israeli analysis has now put the breakout time (the period it would take Iran to finalise a nuclear bomb) at two years. Before Fakhrizadeh departed, it was about three months.”

And two years is a conservative estimate. Senior Mossad figures privately believe that the breakout time is closer to five years, the JC can reveal. The source added: “The Americans were not involved. It was absolutely an Israeli operation, door to door. It was not political, it was a matter of security. It had nothing to do with Trump or the US election. It happened after Biden was elected.

“But Israel did give the Americans a little clue — not to the level of asking for the green light, more like checking the water temperature. Just like they had notified us before killing (Iranian Brigadier-General Qasem) Soleimani.”

Further assassinations were planned for the future, the source said, though nothing on the same scale as Fakhrizadeh or Soleimani. “Yes, the Mossad may have plans for further departures,” the source said. “We need to keep the pressure on. Israel will keep on fighting, for sure. We have already created big holes in Al Qaeda and the (Iranian special forces) Quds force.” According to Mossad analysis, Iran is responsible for 80 per cent of the threats facing the Jewish state. And there is no doubt that whatever approach the Americans take with Iran, Israel will “defend itself by itself”.

“Our main strategy for leverage over the United States is to present our 2018 intelligence to the IAEA,” a source said. “But if it doesn’t work, we will act. The US won’t love it, but we will keep our sovereignty and fight every existential threat.Many Al Qaeda and Iranian personnel have departed, and now Fakhrizadeh has departed. That has made a big difference.

“But if the situation becomes critical, we will ask nobody for permission. We will kill the bomb.”

ANALYSIS: Tehran beware, the Mossad knows everything

By Norman T. Roule, who served in the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for 34 years. From 2008 to 2017, he was National Intelligence Manager for Iran (NIM-I), responsible for US intelligence activities related to the theocracy

The Iranian nuclear archive that Mossad stole three years ago revealed extraordinary detail of Tehran’s covert nuclear weapons programme. But the reason for undertaking such a risky operaion to remove an adversary like Mohsen Fakhrizadeh is not justified by such past activities, but more likely concern of what he might do in the future.

Fakhrizadeh was known for his work on the nuclear weaponisation programme, and it is logical that he was killed to deny Iran this expertise.  We shouldn’t ignore, however, the possibility that he was working on other technologies at the same time, which might have also been perceived to be a strategic threat.

Fakhrizadeh was the sole, senior Iranian official to have managed a secret nuclear weapons programme. His work would likely have involved every aspect of project management, from overseeing the budget to looking after personnel. He reportedly enjoyed a rare level of access to Iran’s Supreme Leader and senior military officials. 

He also had a reputation of being able to fend off his bureaucratic adversaries, having the backing of the most powerful men in the country.  Iran has many nuclear scientists, but his experience made him unique. Whoever his successor turns out to be, they will be highly unlikely to enjoy his stature, bureaucratic clout, or access to such senior leaders.

Several challenges will confront Iran’s Supreme Leader, should he authorise a new weaponisation programme. First, Iran’s adversaries have demonstrated tremendous capacity and skill.

Recently, Iran has suffered heavy losses. First, it lost its most sensitive nuclear archive to Israel.  Then, the US killed Major-General Qasem Soleimani and his Iraqi accomplice, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, in a surgical operation in Iraq.  After that, in August, al-Qaeda leader Abu Muhammad al-Masri and his daughter were killed in another surgical attack in Tehran. Now they have suffered the death of Fakhrizadeh, their top nuclear scientist. 

In addition, Iran has claimed sabotage at its nuclear installation in Natanz, as well as at other facilities. These operations showed that Tehran’s adversaries apparently have strong intelligence and a capacity to neutralise hostile actors without risking civilian casualties. 

One can’t help thinking that such operations are meant to discourage other Iranians from similar hostile actions, or even from taking the place of the individuals killed in these attacks.

Also, the proven ability of foreign intelligence services to uncover Iran’s most sensitive secrets will likely cause Iran’s leadership to wonder whether they can keep a nuclear weaponisation programme secret long enough to reach completion.

It is hard to imagine that Iran’s leaders wouldn’t believe – with good reason – that such a programme would be discovered well before they had constructed a single weapon. At that point, Iran would risk a diplomatic disaster, and possibly a military strike by its adversaries.

Lastly, it may well be that the nuclear archive stolen by Mossad had no backup in Iran.  This information provided not only the details of how to construct a nuclear weapon, but equally importantly, which methods didn’t work. Such knowledge would have allowed Iran to save much time on any future effort. Without these insights and Fakhrizadeh’s memory of them, any future Iranian nuclear weaponisation effort will take far longer to develop.

Tehan’s response to Fakhrizadeh’s killing will require time.  They will likely need to conduct an internal security review, if only to try to ensure that any retaliation won’t be discovered. They will fear that anybody involved in planning retribution against the Israelis or Americans could meet a similar fate to Soleimani, Abu Mohammed al-Masri, and Fakhrizadeh.

Scientist was a marked man

By Jacob Nagel, Israel’s acting national security advisor under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

There are three stages to making a nuclear bomb. First, the fissile material must be produced, which in Iran’s case is uranium. Then comes weaponisation, which means shaping the material into a warhead. Finally, you need to attach it to the means of delivery, usually a missile.

From an Israeli point of view, denying Iran the bomb means dealing with all three of these stages. Some people say that the fire at the uranium enrichment site in Natanz, Iran’s largest such facility, in August, was caused by the Mossad. That would be disrupting the fissile material stage.

In terms of the third stage, Major-General Qasem Soleimani, the Iranian military chief who was killed by an American missile, was involved with funding the nuclear programme and the means of delivery. His departure was a big hole in organising the means of delivery of the bomb.

Fakhrizadeh’s specialism was in stage two, weaponisation. There is only a small number of experts in Iran who understand the weaponisation process — we’re talking double digits. He was the foremost of them. His departure has created a vital break in the chain towards a viable nuclear weapon.

But Fakhrizadeh was even more important than this. He was the head of the Iranian nuclear programme overall. As we learned from the archive stolen by Mossad in 2018, he was responsible for building a cover story, with dual-purpose projects in academia, industry and the civilian world, allowing Iran to cultivate the manpower and know-how necessary to build a bomb.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is about to submit a report detailing the residuals it recently found in four different sites in Iran, which is evidence of nuclear tests and experiments. All of this was Fakhrizadeh. That is the reason why he was ready to depart.

His death was a big blow to Tehran, especially following the blow of the death of Soleimani. Maybe more blows will be necessary.

It is certain that if Iran developed the bomb, it would be a problem for the whole world, including the UK. Israel especially cannot live with a nuclear Iran. So we will defend ourselves by ourselves, and in the process we are defending you, too.

Drones, bombs, spies — inside Israel’s cunning plan to stop Iran’s nukes

January 6, 2022

Article is from 6 December, and the events it describes are even older, but an interesting summary nonetheless.

https://nypost.com/2021/12/06/drones-bombs-spies-inside-israels-cunning-plan-to-stop-irans-nukes/

The Iran Center for Advanced Centrifuges facility at Natanz after it was damaged by an explosion on July 2, 2020.

Israel has carried out three major operations over the last 18 months against Iran’s nuclear sites. These attacks involved as many as a thousand Mossad personnel and were executed with ruthless precision using high-tech weaponry, including drones and a quadcopter — and spies within Tehran’s holy of holies, its nuclear program.

While President Biden’s nuclear negotiators try to snatch catastrophe from the jaws of defeat in Vienna, Israel is taking things more seriously.

Last week, Naftali Bennett, the Israeli prime minister, pivoted to a new policy on Tehran: retaliating against aggression from militias backed by Tehran with covert strikes on Iranian soil.

This builds on the extensive capabilities that the Mossad has built up in the Islamic Republic in recent years. In February — seven months before the New York Times “broke” the same story — I exposed in the Jewish Chronicle of London how Israeli spies killed nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh using a remote-controlled machine gun. I can now reveal the secrets behind Israel’s latest triple attack on Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

The tripartite sabotage effort began on July 2, 2020, with a mysterious explosion in the Iran Center for Advanced Centrifuges facility at Natanz, one of the ultra-secure nuclear sites that are dotted around Iran.

At first, the Iranians were mystified. The building had apparently blown itself up. But how? The answer, as they say, shocked them. When the ayatollah’s apparatchiks were renovating the facility in 2019, Israeli agents had posed as construction merchants and sold them building supplies. Those building supplies were packed with explosives. A year later, they were detonated by Tel Aviv.

Although this created substantial damage, the Natanz plant was far from out of the game. Beneath a protective layer of 40 feet of concrete and iron lay the inner sanctum of the A1000 subterranean hall. Inside were up to 5,000 centrifuges that whirred away day and night, minute by minute taking the Iranian regime closer toward a nuclear weapon.

The second phase of the plan swung into action. Mossad spies approached up to 10 Iranian scientists who had access to this hall and managed to persuade them to switch sides — although they led the scientists to believe that they were working for international dissidents, not Israel.

Incredibly, the scientists agreed to blow up the high-security facility.

“Their motivations were all different,” a well-placed Israeli source tells me. “Mossad found out what they deeply wanted in their lives and offered it to them. There was an inner circle of scientists who knew more about the operation, and an outer circle who helped out but had less ­information.”

There remained the puzzle of ­getting the explosives into the ­fortified complex.

This was achieved in two ways. First, a drone flew into its airspace and delivered the bombs to an agreed-upon location to be collected by the scientists. Then came the smuggling.

“Let’s say you wanted to get explosives into Natanz,” a source told me coyly. “How could you do it? You could, for example, think about how people working there need to eat. They need food.

“So you could put the explosives in the lorry that delivers the food to the canteen, and the scientists could pick it up once it’s inside. Yes, you could do that.”

The plan worked. The scientists collected the bombs and installed them. In April, after Iran announced that it had started to use advanced IR-5 and IR-6 centrifuges in the underground hall — in brazen defiance of its nuclear commitments — the explosives were triggered.

The blast destroyed the secure power system, causing a blackout. Ninety percent of the centrifuges were destroyed, putting the facility out of action for up to nine months. The scientists instantly vanished. All are alive and well ­today.

Mossad’s attention then turned to the production of the centrifuges themselves, to disrupt the regime’s attempt to restore the Natanz facility. The crosshairs moved to Karaj, 30 miles northwest of Tehran, where the Iran Centrifuge Technology Company (TESA) is located.

Over the preceding months, a team of Israeli spies and their Iranian agents had jointly smuggled an armed quadcopter — weighing the same as a motorcycle, a source confirmed — into the country, piece by piece. Now it was time to deploy it.

On June 23, the team assembled the kit and took it to a location 10 miles from the TESA factory. The operatives launched it, piloted it to the factory and released the payload, causing a large explosion. Then the drone returned to the launch site, where it was spirited away to be used again.

It is significant that these operations took place while the negotiations were continuing in Vienna. The Mossad operations were carried out without international collaboration. To use Israeli intelligence slang, the attacks were “blue-and-white” rather than “blue-white-and-red,” which refers to American involvement. This is significant, too.

In recent weeks, Axios reported, Israel has shared intelligence proving that Iran has been laying the technical groundwork for enriching uranium to 90 percent purity, the level required for a bomb.

While Biden’s team, saturated with naivete and a “Back to the Future” focus on the Obama years, fruitlessly pursues jaw-jaw in Vienna, the cynical Iranians are preparing for war — and the Mossad, whose instincts are sharpened by the desire to protect their families from annihilation, is trying to stop them.

The contrast between cloud-cuckoo Washington and post-Holocaust Jerusalem is stark. And in seven months’ time, you might read even this in the New York Times.

The miracle of 48

December 18, 2021

And you could add: “Because Arabs can’t fight their way out of a paper bag”.

EXCLUSIVE: Mossad recruited top Iranian scientists to blow up key nuclear facility

December 18, 2021
Simpsons-nelson-ha-ha-93-p-672x480 ⋆ BYT // Brightest Young Things

A fascinating read.

90 per cent of the plant’s centrifuges were destroyed, putting the complex out of action for up to nine months

https://www.thejc.com/news/world/exclusive-mossad-recruited-top-iranian-scientists-to-blow-up-key-nuclear-facility-1.523163

articlemain

Mossad recruited a team of Iranian nuclear scientists to carry out a covert operation which blew up one of the regime’s most secure nuclear facilities earlier this year, the JC can reveal.

Up to 10 scientists were approached by Israeli agents and agreed to destroy the underground A1000 centrifuge hall at Natanz in April, though they believed that they were working for international dissident groups.

Some of the explosives they used were dropped into the compound by a drone and quietly collected by the scientists, while others were smuggled into the high security facility hidden in boxes of food on a catering lorry. The ensuing destruction caused chaos in the highest echelons of the Iranian leadership. It demolished 90 per cent of the centrifuges at the nuclear plant, delaying progress towards a bomb and putting the key complex out of action for up to nine months.

The new details are among astonishing secrets of three connected Mossad operations that took place over an 11-month period of sabotage in Iran. The first two, in July 2020 and April 2021, targeted the complex in Natanz using explosives, while he third, in June this year, took the form of a quadcopter assault on the Iran Centrifuge Technology Company (TESA), in the city of Karaj, 30 miles northwest of Tehran. The full details are published for the first time by the JC today.

Other revelations include:

  • Mossad spies hid explosives in building materials used to construct the Natanz centrifuge hall as long ago as 2019, then triggered them in 2020:
  • Agents sneaked an armed quadcopter, weighing the same as a motorbike, into Iran piece by piece, and used it to launch missiles at the TESA site in Karaj in June:
  • The three operations were planned together over an 18-month period by a team of 1,000 technicians, analysts and spies, as well as scores of agents on the ground:
  • The three-part assault on Iranian nuclear infrastructure was carried out by Mossad acting alone – known in Israeli intelligence circles as a ‘blue-and-white operation’ – and not jointly with the United States, dubbed ‘blue-white-and-red’.

It comes amid mounting anxiety that Tehran is cynically playing for time as it resumes negotiations in Vienna while pressing ahead with building a nuclear weapon.

In recent weeks, Israel has shared intelligence with Western allies suggesting that Iran is preparing to enrich uranium to 90 per cent purity, the level required to produce a nuclear bomb, Axios reported.

This raises the spectre of a major Israeli air assault on Tehran’s nuclear plants, should both negotiations and sabotage prove insufficient to halt the programme.

This week, the JC has reported that Israel is embarking on a new policy of launching covert attacks on Iranian soil in retaliation for its meddling in the region, meaning that further undercover operations are in the pipeline.

The team of scientists carried out the sabotage in April this year, while the nuclear negotiations with the West were underway in Vienna.

The measures were needed in order to access the underground A1000 centrifuge hall at Natanz, which housed up to 5,000 centrifuges and is protected from air assault by 40 feet of concrete and iron.

Hours after Iran declared that it had begun to use advanced IR-5 and IR-6 centrifuges at the site, in blatant breach of the 2015 nuclear deal, the bombs were remotely set off.

The blast destroyed the independent and highly secure internal power system that supplied the centrifuges.

It caused a power blackout in the heavily fortified complex.

“The scientists’ motivations were all different,” a source said. “Mossad found out what they deeply wanted in their lives and offered it to them.

“There was an inner circle of scientists who knew more about the operation, and an outer circle who helped out but had less information.”

After the explosion, the scientists responsible were spirited away to a safe location. The source added: “All of them are very safe today.”

Iran named a suspect – 43-year-old Reza Karimi – and claimed to have issued an Interpol ‘red notice’ for his arrest. So far he has not been found.

The explosion left a crater so large that one Iranian official fell into it while examining the damage, injuring his head, leg, arm and back.

Fereydoon Abbasi Davani, the head of the Iranian parliament’s energy committee, grudgingly acknowledged to Iranian state television after the attack that the plan was “rather beautiful”.

This was the second of a three-part Mossad operation targeting Iran’s ‘fissile material project’, which is the industrial process of enriching uranium to weapons-grade levels.

The first attack had come on 2 July 2020, with a mysterious explosion inside the Iran Centre for Advanced Centrifuges (ICAC) warehouse at Natanz, central Iran, a key hub in Tehran’s network of nuclear plants dotted around the country.

The orchestration of the blast was audacious. A year earlier, Israeli spies posing as construction wholesalers had sold Iranian officials building materials to be used in the centrifuge hall.

Unbeknownst to the Iranians, the materials had been filled with Mossad explosives. They were built into the hall and remained in place all year. Then, when the time was right, Israel’s spymasters had pushed the button.

Mossad’s brains behind this attack – whom we are not naming – also led a similar operation in the early Nineties, the JC has learnt, in which a desk filled with listening devices was sold to Mahmoud Abbas’ PLO office in Tunisia, providing the Israelis with a stream of audio intelligence.

“The Iranians have always known that Israel has infiltrated their supply chains, but they are powerless to do anything about it,” a source told the JC.

The warehouse had been used to precisely calibrate centrifuges, a vital part of a complex process of producing a nuclear weapon.

The blast caused major damage, destroying a significant quantity of hardware and dramatically degrading the country’s nuclear programme. According to Iranian reports, nobody was injured.

The third and final act in the three-part drama came in June this year. Mossad’s attention now turned to the production of the centrifuges themselves, in order to delay the replacement of the equipment it had damaged in the first two attacks.

Over the preceding weeks, an armed quadcopter drone, weighing the same as a motorcycle, had been smuggled into the country piece by piece by agents.

The target was the TESA complex in Karaj, the most important factory to build the centrifuges – including advanced centrifuges – for the enrichment plants.

On June 23, from a location 10 miles away from the TESA factory, a joint Iranian and Israeli team launched the drone, flew it towards the facility and fired, partly destroying it.

The drone was then piloted back to the team on the ground, who spirited it away to be used again.

The revelations underline Israel’s capacity for striking at the heart of the Iranian regime’s most secret and strongly fortified sites, bolstering the Jewish state’s insistence that if necessary, it will take unilateral military action to prevent the theocracy from achieving a bomb.

Richard Pater, Executive Director of Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (Bicom), said: “Unlike in the previous rounds of talks, Britain is currently holding the strongest line. This is very much appreciated by Israel, as there is a sense that the Americans are so desperate to return to the deal that they would be too soft.

“However, it is quite clear that Britain and the rest of the international community still sees negotiation as the most effective track to rein in Iranian ambitions.

“Israel is not convinced that this will be enough, and also doubt that more problematic partners, like Russia and China, will be able to hold same line.

“Therefore, the credibility of the threat from Israel needs to be enhanced, reiterated and reimposed, as part of a dual effort to put real pressure on Iranians.

“In terms of geopolitics, that is the message that these operations are sending to the international community.”

Israeli Military Leaders: Biden Nuclear Deal Poses ‘Significant Threat to Israel’s Security’

December 18, 2021

https://freebeacon.com/national-security/israeli-military-leaders-biden-nuclear-deal-poses-significant-threat-to-israels-security/

A group of nearly 3,000 Israeli military leaders, soldiers, commanders, and intelligence officials are warning the Biden administration and Democrats in Congress that a new nuclear deal with Iran poses “a significant threat to Israel’s security.”

These leaders, who organized under the umbrella group Israel’s Defense and Security Forum (IDSF), raise concerns that the United States will sign a deal that gives Iran the cash assets needed to fund terrorism and put it on a glide path to a nuclear weapon that will be used to destroy the Jewish state, according to a letter sent last week to Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Menendez (D., N.J.) and senior Biden administration officials.

The 2015 nuclear accord “is fatally flawed and represents a significant threat to Israel’s security,” the Israeli leaders write, according to a copy of the letter obtained by the Washington Free Beacon. “Returning to this expired and flawed agreement would be a grave mistake.” Iran’s only goal, they say, is to create a “nuclear umbrella under which Tehran can dominate the region.”

The letter, sent on Dec. 9, comes as the Biden administration continues its diplomatic effort to secure a revamped nuclear deal with Iran, which would lift sanctions on the hardline regime and provide it with billions of dollars in cash assets. The Israeli government has expressed its fear about a new deal, but the IDSF letter outlines in the clearest terms to date what the Jewish state expects from the Biden administration if it follows through with negotiations. Concerns about a new deal have been growing as Iran boosts its enrichment of uranium, the central fuel for an atomic weapon, even as it participates in talks with the United States.

As the Biden administration considers inking a temporary deal that places fewer restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program, the Israeli generals warn that this type of agreement “would fuel Iran’s already recovering economy and leave Israel in an unacceptably precarious situation.”

A so-called less-for-more deal removes “necessary pressure from the clerical regime and grant it valuable time to increase its resilience against future American economic pressure, continue skirting international inspections and oversight into their undeclared nuclear activities, and provide patient pathways to nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them.” Such an outcome, they say, is unacceptable.

The Israeli military leaders go on to outline seven areas in which Iran must be held accountable in order for any deal to be viewed as a success by Israel.

“A new agreement should include a much more comprehensive verification and supervision mechanism, including the ability to conduct inspections anywhere and anytime, a full resolution of the [International Atomic Energy Agency’s] outstanding questions about undeclared nuclear materials, sites, and activities, and the monitoring and questioning of scientists related to the Iranian nuclear program,” they write.

A new deal should prohibit Iran’s development of ballistic missiles, which the regime is building to deliver a nuclear payload over great distances. The original nuclear accord notably excluded restrictions on Iran’s ballistic missile program, creating a loophole that critics viewed as a fatal flaw.

The United States should also push for the reimposition of all United Nations sanctions on Iran under a mechanism known as “snapback.” The Trump administration chose to invoke this failsafe mechanism, which was written into the original nuclear deal, but the Biden administration reversed the decision soon after taking office. The Israeli military leaders say these sanctions are critical to keeping the Iranian regime’s economy on the ropes.

Any new deal must also renew a longstanding arms embargo on Iran, which expired in October 2020 and has not been renewed. This has allowed Iran to purchase advanced military equipment from nations such as Russia and China, both of which oppose a renewal of the embargo.

The Israeli military leaders also are calling for terrorism sanctions on Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to be preserved under any new deal. Sanctions on the military group have prevented it from expanding its control of Iran’s nuclear-related industries. This would also include sanctions on Iran’s central bank, which funds terrorism and the country’s nuclear program.

“All sanctions for terrorism, missile proliferation, and human rights abuses must be maintained until there is demonstrable evidence that the malign activities underlying those sanctions has permanently ended,” the leaders write.

Mossad is preparing to strike at the heart of Iran’s nuclear programme

December 9, 2021

Oh how I hope and pray this is true…

A very interesting article.

Mossad is preparing to strike at the heart of Iran’s nuclear programme

https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/mossad-is-prepraring-to-strike-at-the-heart-of-iran-s-nuclear-programme

Iran is about to be hit by a fresh wave of Mossad operations, sources in Jerusalem have told me. This is the result of a change in Israeli policy: from now on, when Tehran’s proxy militias make trouble in the region, the Jewish state will retaliate on Iranian soil. ‘No more attacking the tentacles of the octopus,’ one source said. ‘Now we will go for the head.’

For the foreseeable future, I can confirm, this will not take the form of air raids, missile strikes or drone attacks. Instead, Israel’s feared secret service has been told to carry out pinpoint operations inside the Islamic Republic, inflicting surgical but devastating punishment.

Mossad’s impressive capabilities in Iran were demonstrated by the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh last November, the full details of which I exposed for the first time in February . A one-ton robot machine gun was smuggled into the country piece-by-piece and used to remotely kill the nuclear scientist as he drove to his holiday home. The spy agency’s capabilities were also demonstrated by the audacious theft of Iran’s entire archive of nuclear secrets from a warehouse outside Tehran in 2018.

As if more evidence was needed, this week I revealed the secret details of three operations – two at a nuclear plant in Natanz and one at the Iran Centrifuge Technology Company (TESA) factory in Karaj – that were planned by 1,000 Mossad personnel [!!!] and executed over 18 months of sabotage.

The first hit, in July 2020, was perhaps the most audacious. The previous year, spies posing as construction suppliers had sold the Iranian authorities materials that were used to build the Iran Centre for Advanced Centrifuges (ICAC) at Natanz, a highly secure nuclear facility in central Iran. Twelve months later, the explosives that Mossad had hidden in the supplies were detonated, destroying the warehouse and the centrifuges it contained.

But there remained the underground hall at Natanz, one of the most secure sites in the Islamic Republic. Named A1000, it housed up to 5,000 centrifuges and was protected from air assault by 40 feet of concrete and iron. This time, Israeli spies managed to persuade the scientists working in this inner sanctum to work for them. Thinking that they were helping a group of international dissidents, the scientists collected explosives that were smuggled into the facility by drone and in a catering lorry, and planted them in the subterranean A1000 hall. The ensuing explosion, which came in April, demolished 90 per cent of the centrifuges there, putting the complex out of action for nine months.

Finally, there was a missile attack on the TESA factory in Karaj in June. The payload was dispatched by a quadcopter drone, weighing the same as a motorcycle, which had been smuggled into the country piece by piece by Israeli spies and their Iranian agents.

Why does all this matter? This week, negotiations between the Iranian regime and Western powers have resumed in Vienna. There is widespread concern that Tehran is playing for time while continuing its progress towards a bomb.

In recent weeks, Israel has shared intelligence with its western allies suggesting that Iran is preparing the technical groundwork to enrich uranium to 90 per cent purity, the level required to produce a nuclear weapon, while paying lip service to a deal. This would be a gamechanger in the balance of power in the region and the world – and an intolerable existential threat to Israel.

When it comes to finding a diplomatic solution to this crisis, Jerusalem would be forgiven for lacking confidence in the international community. In his desperation to undo the Trump legacy and reheat Obamaism, President Biden – the leader of the free world – has dispatched a negotiating team that seems to abide by the principle of ‘give in first, beg for lollypops later.’

Britain, by contrast, has held a stronger line. The last couple of months have been marked by much warmth between London and Jerusalem; both Naftali Bennett and foreign minister Yair Lapid have enjoyed friendly visits to London, and Britain has passed new legislation to ban Hamas’ political wing as well as its military one. When signing a wide-ranging bilateral trade, defence and technology deal with Mr Lapid last week, foreign secretary Liz Truss vowed: ‘We will work night and day to prevent the Iranian regime from ever becoming a nuclear power.’

But as solid as British support may be, it may not be enough to prevent the United States from signing an execrable ‘less for less’ deal, which would allow Iran to receive sanctions relief while retaining the progress it has made towards a bomb. And partners such as Russia and China cannot be relied upon to keep their spanners out of the works.

The stakes could not be higher. Sometimes it seems like public opinion is somnambulant on the matter. We are facing the spectre of a fanatical, Islamist regime – the world’s foremost sponsor of terror, both in the Middle East and across the world – going nuclear. Would it launch a strike at Israel, which it has promised to wipe off the map? What would be the consequences of that? Would Israel and the Gulf States launch a pre-emptive strike? What would America do? Where would all this leave Britain, and our interests overseas? Even the Iranian use of nuclear weapons tactically in Syria or elsewhere is not unimaginable. And that would be an entirely different crisis. Hand-in-hand, the world is sleep-walking into a moment when Jerusalem decides that the risk has become unbearable, air strikes are launched, and full-scale war breaks out.

But in the meantime, the Mossad is coming. That was the coded message that Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett gave to Iran last week. ‘They make us bleed without paying a price for it,’ the Prime Minister said. ‘We have to get to the dispatchers.’

Retaliating directly on Iranian soil enables Mossad to flex its muscles and send a message, creating more fear and confusion in Tehran. This will prepare the way for further sabotage operations on its nuclear facilities. It is vital that this succeeds. The sobering truth is that if international negotiations fail, and Israel’s spies fail, then war is all but certain. For those who aspire to live in peace, rarely has Israel – and the world – needed the Mossad more.

Explosion heard near Iranian nuclear site Natanz

December 5, 2021

Here’s hoping it was a big one, and due to the efforts of Mossad…

5 December 2021

Conflicting reports emerge about nature of the blast, which occurred as Tehran is negotiating to restore 2015 nuclear deal

https://www.foxnews.com/world/explosion-heard-near-iranian-nuclear-site-natanz

This satellite photo from Planet Labs Inc. shows Iran's Natanz nuclear facility on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. 

TEHRAN, Iran — An explosion shook the area near Iran’s main nuclear-enrichment plant late on Saturday, prompting conflicting explanations from Iranian officials as Tehran engages in talks with world powers over its nuclear program.

The blast was heard in the area of Badroud, around 12 miles from the Natanz nuclear site, according to IRNA, Iran’s state news agency. The incident involved a sound and then a flash of light in the sky, reported Fars News Agency, an organization close to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Natanz has been the site of attacks and sabotage in the past, but Iran didn’t immediately place blame on any foreign government and sent differing signals about what happened after reports of the explosion circulated in local media.

An Iranian army spokesman played down the explosion on state television, saying a missile system had been test fired and there was no reason to be concerned. A news agency close to Iran’s security forces, Tasnim, cited sources saying that a hostile drone had activated defense systems on Saturday night.

Natanz Governor Ramezanali Ferdowsi said the explosion occurred at 8:15 p.m. local time and caused no casualties or financial damage, according to Iran’s official student news agency ISNA.

Iran has carried out periodic tests of its defense capabilities in central parts of Iran, including around nuclear sites in Isfahan, Arak, Fordo and Natanz.

The U.S. National Security Council declined to comment on the reports.

The reports come a day after the latest round of talks in Vienna between Iran, the U.S. and other world powers to revive the 2015 nuclear deal stalled. The negotiations are intended to agree on the steps Iran and the U.S. will take to return into compliance with the accord, which lifted most international sanctions on Tehran in exchange for strict but temporary restrictions on Iran’s nuclear work.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has called on Europe and the U.S. to stop the negotiations and in recent weeks, his government has stepped up warnings that it could act militarily against Iran’s nuclear work. Israel, which views a nuclear-armed Iran as an existential threat, opposed the 2015 deal. Iran has accused Israel of sabotaging its nuclear facilities, which Israel hasn’t accepted responsibility for.

Mr. Bennett spoke by phone on Thursday with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and urged the U.S. to immediately end its talks with Iran over its “nuclear blackmail,” according to the prime minister’s office.

Natanz has been targeted before. In April, Iran said saboteurs caused a blackout at the country’s main nuclear-enrichment plant there, which diplomats have said destroyed several thousand centrifuges, machines for enriching uranium. Iran accused Israel of attempting to derail informal talks with the U.S. on reviving the nuclear deal.

Last year, an explosion at Natanz caused damage to a building identified by experts and diplomats as an advanced centrifuge assembly plant. The United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency said that it had been informed about the blast by Iranian authorities who said the cause was unknown.

PA on Verge of Financial Collapse as Fewer Donors Honor Commitments

November 21, 2021

What can I say but…

Nelson Muntz ... HA HA ... ;-) - via @TOPLAR | Nelson muntz, Nelson simpsons,  The simpsons

From The Media Line, 27 October 2021.

EU, Gulf and US have all cut aid to the Palestinians, whose financial difficulties have been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic

The Palestinian Authority is experiencing the worst fiscal difficulties it has ever had since its establishment more than a quarter century ago. The treasury is facing a severe cash crunch, and this could soon reflect on its ability to pay government salaries and conduct daily business, top officials say.

An adviser to PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh told a local radio station that the PA is experiencing its worst financial situation in years.

Stephen Salameh said in an interview on Ajyal Radio this week that the cessation of European support comes on top of a massive reduction in financial aid from Arab countries and the United States.

In the past, when faced with financial crises, the PA turned to wealthy Arab governments in the Gulf for assistance, but that support has declined.

The Media Line has learned that, of the $100 million that the Arab League member countries had committed to the PA as part of a financial “security net,” less than $2 million (!!!) has been forthcoming, according to a top official at the PA Ministry of Finance.

The donors’ share of the PA budget has dropped by a whopping 58% in the past few years, forcing the government to scramble for ways to make up the difference. This has left the PA with limited options; it raised taxes, implemented austerity measures and looked to local banks for loans.

But with the emergence of the coronavirus and an economy on the ropes, citizens cannot afford to pay higher taxes and banks are increasingly wary of continuing to raise the PA’s borrowing limit. The government is now trying to resurrect old moves from its playbook.

President Mahmoud Abbas dispatched Shtayyeh to Brussels this week, in hopes of persuading the Europeans to restore financial aid. The PA government has received no aid from the European Union this year.

An example of how serious the financial situation is: Gas stations in the West Bank city of Bethlehem have refused to service PA cars, including security vehicles, because the government hasn’t paid its bills.

Nizar al-Jabari, a member of the Administrative Board of the Gas Station Owners Syndicate, told The Media Line on Wednesday that the PA Ministry of Finance paid 3 million shekels, or $940,000, to the gas stations the previous day.

Jabari estimates the government debt to gas stations at “between 50 million and 60 million shekels,” or $16 million-$19 million.

Abbas is battling both domestic and external crises, in what observers describe as the worst political and financial troubles since he took the helm of the PA more than 16 years ago.

The problems are serious enough that they threaten the authority’s very existence.

On the political front, Abbas is facing growing challenges within his own Fatah party and popular turmoil because of his crackdown on civil liberties and cancellation of presidential and parliamentary elections that has been scheduled for the summer. And the lack of progress on the negotiations track with Israel has had a major impact on the PA’s standing locally, regionally and internationally.

The Palestinian street is growing impatient with the PA government.

“Prices are rising, incomes are either stagnant or there’s no work,” said Ameen Khairi, a shop owner in Nablus, in the northern West Bank. “They overburdened us with taxes that we can’t afford. The PA needs to live within its means.”

The economy in the Palestinian territories is teetering on the verge of collapse and the internal divide is growing ever deeper.

“The Palestinian economy continues to suffer under the occupation. Now, couple that with the bad management of the coronavirus policy that added to the troubles,” says Jamal Nimer, chairman of the Board of Directors at the Carmel Hotel in Ramallah.

He told The Media Line that the Palestinian economy is failing, especially the tourist sector, which has been hit hard because of the closures and restrictions as part of the government policy to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our economy is struggling, unemployment is soaring and poverty levels are skyrocketing. The outlook for the Palestinian economy is gloomy,” Nimer said.

More than a quarter of Palestinians lived in poverty before the pandemic.

Dr. Nasr Abdel Karim, a professor of finance and economics in the College of Graduate Studies at the Arab American University in Ramallah, says there is no doubt that the PA is going through a “real and suffocating financial crisis. Its manifestations are evident. There is a budget deficit, an accumulation of debt and delays in paying its obligations. It’s undeniable that there’s a clear decline in aid.”

Abdel Karim told The Media Line, however, that this crisis is “not new and has been repeated for years.”

But he argues that what makes the current financial hardship different is “essentially the position of the European Union. European aid, which was between $400 million and $500 million [annually], is not present now.”

Last week, one of the PA’s biggest European backers criticized the Palestinian government for widespread graft. A Swedish radio station quoted Foreign Minister Ann Linde as saying: “The corruption that pervades Palestine is an obstacle to providing economic support.”

Eighty-three percent of Palestinians believe there is corruption in PA institutions, according to a recent poll by the Ramallah-based Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR).

Abdel Karim adds that Palestinians had great expectations following the election of US President Joe Biden and the change in administration that the flow of American aid would soon resume, after the Trump White House cut it off.

“This isn’t happening yet, leaving the PA disappointed with the US administration,” he said.

One of Abbas’ advisers confirmed to The Media Line that the president and his inner circle are “concerned” about the financial and political state of the PA.

“There is a feeling in the Mukataa that we have been abandoned by everyone,” he said, referring to the presidential compound in Ramallah, the seat of the PA government.

According to the London-based, pan-Arab Al-Araby Al-Jadeed newspaper, during a meeting with Palestinian leadership in Ramallah last week, Abbas became furious at the Biden administration, describing US officials as “liars for not keeping the promises they made to us.”

Those promises include reopening the Palestine Liberation Organization office in Washington, providing financial support to the PA, and reopening the US consulate in East Jerusalem.

The Palestinians were counting on renewed US support, politically and financially, that would encourage wealthy Arab states to restore their financial support. However, according to the same unnamed source, there is “a clear American truancy about directly returning financial support to the PA, especially as the United States accuses the PA of corruption.”

“This has affected the Gulf’s response to the requests from the PA,” the source said.

Abdul Karim says the PA leadership is living in a “political and financial bubble,” and that this week’s visit of the head of the Palestinian General Intelligence Service, Majid Faraj, to Dubai, although it is under the cover of a visit to the Palestine pavilion at Expo 2020, “is an attempt to placate the United Arab Emirates and restore ties.”

Faraj, one of Abbas’ closest and most trusted confidants, met with the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, amid intensive official Palestinian media coverage. It was the first time Mohammed bin Rashid met with a senior Palestinian official since relations between the PA and the UAE became strained.

“The [Palestinian] Authority is also concerned about the diplomatic crisis, because if conditions improve diplomatically, it will have positive repercussions for financial aid,” Abdul Karim said.

Guards’ Publication Says Israel Attacked Research Center In September

November 21, 2021

Relates to the incident in the previous post.

https://www.iranintl.com/en/20211109462747

A weekly publication in Iran says an incident reported as a fire in a military research center in September was an “attack” by Israel to exert pressure on Iran.

The little-known Sobh Sadegh publication of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) mentioned Tuesday that a “self-reliance research center” west of Tehran was in targeted by Israel in an operation similar to other attacks since July 2020, including two explosions in the Natanz uranium enrichment facility.

The IRGC reported on September 26 that a fire damaged one of its research facilities and three personnel were injured. Hours later, the announcement was deleted from its website and another version appeared saying that the fire was in the depot of the facility. Later, IRGC said that two of its personnel died in the incident.

Days later, ImageSat International published images saying that an explosion had taken place in a secret IRGC missile center west of Tehran. The images showed that one-quarter of the building was destroyed.

Several mysterious fires and explosion have hit Iran’s nuclear, military and industrial sites since July 2020, generally ascribed to operation by Israel. A top nuclear official, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, was also killed last November in an elaborate assassination.