In mid-April, a bomb attack was carried out in the most important Iranian nuclear facility in Natanz, which is attributed to the Israeli Mossad. The Iranian nuclear program was set back by nine months. This attack is part of a long list of Israeli state terrorism against Iran and its timing is no coincidence: at the same time, indirect talks are taking place in Vienna between the US and Iran in order to bring both countries back to their commitments under the 2015 Iran deal without loss of face. But Benjamin Netanyahu wants to sabotage these negotiations and prefers to stagger towards an open, catastrophic war with Iran.
On Sunday, April 11, there was an attack on Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility in Isfahan province. Initially, the suspicion of a cyberattack on the power grid circulated, but it quickly turned out to be a bomb attack carried out from inside the plant. The bomb is said to have been smuggled into the plant and detonated via remote detonator. The explosion “completely destroyed” the internal power system for supplying the centrifuges, which is isolated from the outside world, anonymous Israeli and US intelligence sources tell the New York Times. According to the head of research of the Iranian parliament, “thousands of centrifuges were damaged or destroyed”. At the time of the attack, around 1,000 people were on site, all of whom were put in mortal danger. A devastating environmental catastrophe could also have been triggered. Natanz is the most important nuclear facility in Iran, where uranium is enriched for research purposes as well as on an industrial scale. It is commonly reported that the Iranian nuclear program was pushed back by six to nine months by the attack. Tehran suspected Israel of being responsible and shortly thereafter presented 43-year-old Reza Karimi, who allegedly carried out the attack on behalf of the Israeli Mossad intelligence service, but had already fled Iran.
The Mossad is behind the attack
It is part of the Israeli government’s policy to neither confirm nor deny military or intelligence operations, which it is accused of. In the case of the Natanz attack, however, the comments, leaks and assessments are condensed, all pointing in only one direction: For example, the Israeli public broadcaster Kan Radio, citing anonymous sources, identifies the Mossad behind the attack and the right-wing, Netanyahu-friendly Jerusalem Post, citing “Western sources”, titled: “Mossad behind the attack on Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility”. On the day of the attack, several unnamed Israeli intelligence sources admitted to various Hebrew-language media that the Mossad carried out the attack, according to the Times of Israel. Netanyahu himself implied Israeli culpability on the same day: “The fight against Iran … is a gigantic Mission.“The highest military in the country, Chief of Staff General Aviv Kochavi, was still able to slow down from not directly admitting Israel’s culpability when he declared a day later: Israel’s” Operations throughout the Middle East are not hidden from the eyes of our enemies. … We will continue to act, combining power and discretion.” Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi also bluntly declares: “We are taking measures against Iran that would rather remain unspoken.”
In view of this multitude of leaks and insinuations, and with Israel’s long list of similar attacks against Iran in mind, it is fair to say that the Mossad was behind the Natanz attack.
One day after the attack, Netanyahu, in a veritable Orwellian reversal of meaning, declared: “In the Middle East, there is no more dangerous, grave and urgent threat than that of the fanatical regime in Iran.” And further: “Israel will continue to defend itself against the aggression and terrorism of Iran.” To utter such words shortly after one’s own government carried out a bomb attack on Iran illustrates the chutzpah of the Netanyahu administration.
Iran’s response, and the failure of Western media
The Natanz attack came one day after Iran ceremoniously started operating its advanced IR-5 and IR - 6 centrifuges. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said shortly after the attack: “Natanz will be stronger than ever, with even more advanced machines.“In the future, the IR-9, which is currently being tested, will enrich uranium 50 times faster than the original IR-1, which is permitted under the 2015 Iran deal. In response to the attack, Natanz has installed” six cascades of up to 1,044 IR-2m centrifuges and two cascades of up to 348 IR-4 centrifuges, " Reuters reports, which is one and a half times or twice the number of centrifuges installed so far.
The expected reaction of defiance by Iran illustrates in a picture-book manner how the Israeli bombardment returns its result to its original justification. A few days after the Natanz attack, Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization AEOI, announced that Iran had now enriched uranium to 60 percent, which is technically only slightly below the 90 percent enrichment required to build nuclear weapons. Every hour nine grams would be enriched. With the exception of the anti-Iran hawks in Israel and the United States, no one is seriously claiming that this is actually a step towards the Iranian bomb – rather, there is a consensus that this is about building up bargaining power in future talks to lift sanctions and “the answer to your viciousness”, as President Rouhani puts it in the direction of Israel.
The timing of the attack itself is also far from coincidental: it was during this time that indirect talks between the Biden administration and Iran began in Vienna about how both countries could return to their obligations under the nuclear agreement. The Israeli attack in Natanz was intended to sabotage the talks, but they continue unharmed and relatively constructively. Israel’s obstructionism serves the goal of straddling the Iranian arc of patience in such a way that Tehran too throws around the negotiating table and thus becomes once again the international pariah that Israeli propaganda wants its arch-enemy to draw.
As early as May 2019, a year after Trump pulled out of the Iran deal, Tehran began to scale back its commitments in five steps, such as by adding more kilograms and adding more centrifuges to a higher level. All these steps are technically easily reversible. They were the Iranian reaction to the fact that not only the US, but also the other parties China, Germany, EU, France, Great Britain and Russia violated the Iran deal by not granting Tehran the promised trade facilitation.
At this point, I would like to point out a blatant deception on the part of our writing colleagues in the West: according to your narrative, Iran would break the nuclear agreement by suspending its obligations, as we read in all the major Western gazettes. Iran’s foreign Minister, who edits this lie every time, is mocked for it; likewise, President Rouhani, who recently reiterated after the announcement of the 60 percent enrichment: “What we do is legal.“This may sound strange to Western ears, but Tehran always justifies its actions with Article 36 of the JCPOA, which gives each party the right to” suspend all or part of its obligations “if the other parties are guilty of” significant non-performance " of their contractual obligations. We can be morally indignant at Tehran’s suspension of its obligations, but Iran has always acted in accordance with international law – all other parties are breaking international law every day. It cannot be pointed out often enough.
A side note: I do not want to judge this behavior of my colleagues of the writing guild, but I spontaneously think of two possible reasons: either it is laziness not to study in the original the documents about which you write and on the basis of which you accuse Iran of breaking international law. Or they are well aware of the existence of paragraph 36 and are therefore deliberately misled and for ideological reasons engaged in anti-Iranian propaganda. The former would prove journalistic incompetence, the latter collaboration in the state confrontation course or war entry propaganda – both would provide a deep insight into the professional ethos of Western journalism.
Heiko Maas, vs. United Nations
A key point of criticism from right-wing agitators against the Iran deal is that it does not include Iran’s ballistic missile program or its expansive activities in the Middle East, both of which, as is well known, were never the goal: Maximum reduction of Iran’s nuclear program against lifting sanctions, according to the deal, which Tehran – in contrast to all other parties – rigorously adhered to until May 2019, as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed twelve times. A year earlier, in May 2018, Donald Trump pulled out of the deal, drove his “maximum pressure"policy of illegal sanctions, thus setting in motion the escalating spiral that causally led us directly to the recent bombing of Natanz.
President Rouhani has always maintained that Iran will fully fulfil its obligations if the US withdraws Trump’s illegal sanctions-an opportunity that must be seized. But instead of acting as an honest broker here and saving the Iran deal, the federal government embarked on Washington’s escalation course. As early as December 2020, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas bows to President Trump, who is actually so hated: “A return to the previous agreement will not be enough. We have clear expectations of Iran: no nuclear weapons, but also no ballistic missile program that threatens the whole region. Iran must also play a different role in the region.“The German Foreign Minister can of course have expectations, wishes and dreams as he pleases, but there is one problem: formulated as a demand and precondition for Iran, his “clear expectations” are contrary to international law. Because: The Iran deal is not “only” a treaty between Iran and seven world powers, but is enshrined in UN Security Council Resolution 2231 and thus binding on all countries of the world under international law.
For further understanding, a short detour to the two criticisms, Iranian missiles and Tehran’s support of militias in the Middle East. At their core, these bear the old dilemma of geo - and security policy: one is defensive through the other’s glasses offensive. If you want to understand Iran’s suspicious behavior in the here and now, you have to look at the decade after the Islamic Revolution in 1979, the Iran-Iraq War 1980-1988: With German poison gas and intelligence information from the CIA, Saddam Hussein waged a brutal poison gas war against Iran. With the exception of North Korea and Syria betrayed by the entire world, Tehran implored this world to receive ballistic missiles in order to at least defend its civilian population from Saddam’s gas bombardment. Vain. In the end, up to a million people died, more than a hundred thousand on gas alone. Since the 1979 revolution, Western actors have been working to bring down the Iranian regime-and do not shy away from complicity in poison gas massacres. That is why Iran is building self-sufficient missiles and maintains a network of proxy militias in the region.
This is not to justify * Iran’s behavior, but to explain it rationally, it is to recognize geopolitical realities: Tehran’s behavior is what Iran expert Michael Lüder calls “forward defense”, out of pure self-protection Tehran will not give up both.
When Heiko Maas takes over the exact Trump talking points, he completely disregards these realities and switches to the war course of the anti-Iran hawks in Washington and Jerusalem. When he ties the end of his own international breach to completely illusory demands on Tehran, he, like the right – wing agitators Trump and Netanyahu, tramples on this very international law - the supposedly values-and rules-based world order that politicians in the liberal West always conjure up. Even the Scientific service of the Bundestag issued an unequivocal verdict in an international legal opinion of June 2018: “The UN Security Council alone could repeal the legal obligation of the agreements of the JCPOA.“Who gives Heiko Maas the right to override the UN? What an arrogance and arrogance to unilaterally demand the rewriting of UN resolutions in our name.
Back to the Natanz-stop. Foreign Minister Zarif, like President Rouhani, speaks perfectly correctly of “nuclear terrorism”. This formulation can be dismissed as Iranian propaganda, but it is undoubtedly accurate. If Al-Qaeda carried out a bomb attack on the only German industrial uranium enrichment plant in North Rhine-Westphalia, we would of course be talking about terrorism; if Sweden carried out the attack, we would be talking about state terrorism. When Israel now commits bombings in Iranian nuclear facilities, it is of course exactly that: state terrorism. A look back.
The long history of Israeli state terrorism
The Iranian nuclear program looks back on an eventful history of Israeli state terrorism, often carried out in collaboration with Washington. In the early summer of 2020 alone, several concerted fire and bomb attacks as well as cyber attacks on Iranian infrastructures such as power plants, medical facilities, chemical plants, centrifuge assembly plants and, as recently, the nuclear plant in Natanz took place within a few days. In most cases, Israel was credibly identified as the perpetrator of these attacks. In 2007, the London Times reported exclusively, citing “several Israeli military sources,” that the Israeli Air Force is already training for the complete destruction of the largely underground Natanz nuclear facility through the use of bunker-busting tactical nuclear weapons. Around 2010 , the $ 50 million malicious computer worm Stuxnet, developed by Israel and the United States, shut down about 1,000 centrifuges in Natanz before breaking out of Natanz due to a programming error and infecting over 200,000 computers worldwide. With the Israeli-US Stuxnet terrorist attack on Natanz, Obama became the first US president to " repeatedly use cyber weapons to cripple another country’s infrastructure,” as the New York Times wrote at the time.
In addition to attacks on Iranian nuclear infrastructure, Israel uses state-terrorist tactics, the execution of Iranian scientists. In all likelihood, since 2007, Israeli intelligence has killed at least six high-ranking Iranian nuclear scientists, the actual number is probably higher. The first among them was the distinguished professor of electrodynamics, Ardashir Hosseinpour, who according to the US intelligence thinktank Stratfor was killed in 2007 by “radioactive poisoning” in a “secret operation” of the Mossad. Between 2010 and 2012, there were several attacks by Israel, in which four Iranian scientists were killed and one seriously injured; the Modi Operandi: twice magnetic bombs were attached to the victims ' cars, once a remotely detonated bomb was detonated nearby and once an agent fired from his motorcycle in a drive-by shooting at the victim’s family. The women of the scientists were also injured several times in these attacks. Each time, Iran accused the Israeli Mossad of being behind the assassinations, some of which indirectly confirmed the accusations, and some of which were verified by other Western services. According to Iranian authorities, a similar attack was thwarted in 2015. And in the most recent of these cases, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the “father of Iran’s nuclear program,” was executed near Tehran in November 2020. His protected black Nissan sedan was riddled with bullets, and several bodyguards are also said to have been killed. In April 2018, Netanyahu spoke in ominous terms about Fakhrizadeh in a PowerPoint presentation, the meaning of which is now crystal clear: “Remember that name."- a political execution with announcement.
Such reports fizzle out quite quickly in the Western media landscape, for perspective: please try to imagine the media echo for a moment, if Iranian mercenaries in Tel Aviv, New York or Berlin would cause a bloodbath on the street and execute Israeli, American or German scientists.
What dizzying proportions the terrorist energy of the Israeli leadership can take to weaken Iran is revealed in a spy thriller published in January 2012 by the journal Foreign Policy, which could also have been written by a Hollywood director. Under the apt title “False Flag”, intelligence expert Mark Perry reports on top secret CIA memos regarding Mossad activities in 2007 and 2008. According to the report , Israeli agents in London and other European cities met with high-ranking representatives of the Pakistani-Iranian terrorist organization Jundallah, which is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of people in Iran and Pakistan by means of the most brutal attacks and joined ISIS in 2014. The aim of these conspiratorial meetings was to recruit Jundallah fighters for the Israeli government to carry out false flag assassinations against Iranian citizens. However, in order to cover the tracks to the Olmert government in Jerusalem, the Mossad agents pretended to be CIA employees. They had fake US passports and bags full of bundles of dollars in their luggage and let the terrorists believe that Washington would recruit them for attacks in Iran. George W. Bush “literally exploded with rage” when he learned of the operation, because the Mossad could provoke retaliatory strikes with this action and thus put US citizens in danger of their lives. Apart from the fact of recruiting jihadist terrorists as mercenaries for political assassinations, to do so under the false flag of its own protecting power, the USA, is hardly to be outdone in audacity. There were no consequences for Israel.
As a result of this Mossad-Jundallah conspiracy, there have been numerous terrorist attacks on civilians, military personnel, scientists and government officials in Iran, including mass kidnappings, executions, bombings and suicide bombings: in December 2008, Jundallah kidnapped 16 Iranian police officers and executed them in a beastly manner. In May 2009, at least 25 people were killed by Jundallah in a suicide attack in a Shiite Moshe in the southern Iranian provincial capital of Zahedan. In October 2009, a Jundallah suicide bomber killed 42 people in Sistan and Balochistan province in southeastern Iran, including senior officers of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards – the bloodiest terrorist attack in Iran since the 1980s. In July 2010, a double suicide bombing by Jundallah in front of a mosque in Zahedan killed 26 people and injured more than 300. In December 2010, in a suicide attack on a mosque in Chahbahar, Jundallah killed 41 people, many of them children, and injured 100 others. Many more attacks, with many dead followed. It is hardly possible to reconstruct retrospectively in detail whether and, if so, to what extent the collaboration of the Mossad with the Jundallah had an influence on these bloody attacks, but it is more than significant to outline how a gang of murderers, the Israeli government rises to bed, without any scruples against their arch-enemy Iran to proceed.
Sabre-rattling on the open sea
In the days following the attack on Natanz, events flipped: Tehran vowed revenge. This was not long in coming and, like the reaction to Trump’s execution of General Qassem Soleimani in January 2020, was relatively moderate: on April 13, the 200-meter cargo ship Hyperion Ray, loaded with cars, of Israeli businessman Rami Ungar was attacked by drone or rocket fire, as the Israeli Haaretz reported. Israel accuses Iran of being behind the attack. The ship lay in international waters off the Emirati port of Fujairah and was slightly damaged in the attack. According to the ship tracking websites MarineTraffic and MyShipTracking, the Hyperion Ray targets the port of Hambantota in Sri Lanka, but has been stuck off the coast of Fujairah since the attack. Also in the weeks before, there were several attacks on Israeli and Iranian ships in the region, which no one officially acknowledged and which recalled the high escalation phase in spring 2019, when a large number of civilian ships in the Gulf of Hormuz were attacked in a still unexplained way.
For years, Israel has been waging a covert war against Iran. This is being conducted by means of cyberwar, sabotage actions and various state terrorist attacks. In recent years there have been hundreds of air strikes against Iranian positions in Syria. A shift in strategy has recently taken place: “Israel’s shadow war against Iran is moving out to the open sea,” headlines the New York Times. On April 6, Israel attacked the Iranian freighter Saviz off the Yemeni coast with a magnetic mine attached to the ship’s hull. The Israeli government even admitted the attack to US officials, as reported by the New York Times, and spoke of “retaliation” for an attack on the Israeli container ship Lori in the Arabian Sea, which was allegedly hit by an Iranian missile at the end of March. As recently as Saturday, a drone reportedly shelled an Iranian oil tanker in the Mediterranean near the Syrian Baniyas refinery, killing at least three Syrians.
Since 2019, Israel has attacked at least ten Iranian civilian ships, the New York Times reports, citing Israeli and U.S. government insiders, with the actual number likely to be over 20 in attacks. Most of these ships were oil tankers en route to Syria and were attacked by special forces of the Israeli Navy. But the Iranian attacks, just like the Israeli ones, “were apparently not meant to sink the ships, but to send out a message,” writes the New York Times. We are in a dangerous escalation spiral, in which civilian ships are abused for military power skirmishes and every time civilians on board the freighters are put in mortal danger. How long this reckless sabre-rattling goes on “well”, nobody can say: what happens if an Iranian oil tanker is unintentionally sunk in the Mediterranean during such an action? What if an Israeli container ship full of German cars sinks to the bottom of the Arabian Sea? With power games so sharp before an open war, the smallest mistakes can have catastrophic consequences.
Netanyahu’s war course could set the entire Middle East region on fire. How significant: while an attempt is being made in Vienna to repair the pile of shards set up by Trump, Netanyahu is committing a terrorist attack on a nuclear facility. Veteran columnist Simon Tisdall recently asked in the British Guardian: “In a region famous for all its warmongers and tyrants – who is the most dangerous man in the Middle East right now?“It is neither Assad nor bin Salman nor Erdoğan. No, the “danger man” title goes to Benjamin Netanyahu. In view of what Mohammed bin Salman is doing in Yemen, this assessment does not necessarily have to be shared. But one thing is certain without a doubt: a potential Iran war to the extent of death and destruction would overshadow everything we have ever experienced in the powder keg Middle East. Netanyahu ignites without sense and reason. His entire government is dangerous to the community.
You can find the sources here.