The fatal attack on a nuclear expert near Tehran triggered another escalation in the Middle East. However, Iran is sending out signals that diplomatic channels must remain open.
Tehran (AP) – According to a government spokesman, Iran should not sacrifice diplomatic efforts over its fatal attack on nuclear physicist Mohsen Fachrisadeh. “We should certainly not fall into this trap,” said Ali Rabiei.
According to Rabiei, there were also attacks on Iranian nuclear physicists during the nuclear talks with world powers between 2005 and 2015. But even then, negotiations continued and were not called off because of the attacks, the spokesman said, according to news portal Alef.
Fachrisadeh was murdered on Friday in a suburb of the capital of Tehran. Iran immediately accused “local mercenaries” from the US and Israel – but so far no one has officially admitted the attack. The goal of US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is to provoke a military confrontation with Iran before the end of Trump’s term on January 20. Another goal is to block, or at least make it more difficult, any rapprochement with the new US administration under Joe Biden, according to estimates in Tehran.
President Hassan Ruhani and the moderate forces in the country want to prevent an escalation in the region at all costs before Biden takes office. Ruhani is particularly interested in a possible return of Biden to the Vienna nuclear deal of 2015, from which Trump left in 2018. In this case, Ruhani also hopes for an end to the US sanctions that plunged Iran into the worst economic crisis in its history.
The hardliners and the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), however, do not want diplomatic progress, but demand revenge and especially threaten to attack Israeli targets. “The criminal enemy (Israel) will not regret this act as long as we do not respond consistently,” said parliament speaker and former IRGC commander Mohammed Bagher Ghalibaf on Saturday. The Islamic daily Kejhan even demanded an attack on the Israeli port city of Haifa once Israel’s role in the attack was proven.