The regime is killing political dissidents, and blaming the West for the deaths. In related news, it is still possible for me to be appalled:
Even for a country deep in political turmoil, the killing of Massoud Ali Mohammadi in Tehran today came as a shock. There have been arrests, disappearances and occasional shootings, but the manner of his death was as meticulous as it was disturbing.
Mohammadi was blown up outside his home in an smart northern suburb of Tehran by a remote-control bomb that had been attached to a motorcycle parked on the street. As his stunned neighbours cleared up the rubble they struggled to understand why a little-known academic would have fallen victim to such a highly professional assassination.
The answer may lie in Mohammadi’s profession and political inclinations. He was a particle physicist and a supporter of the Iranian opposition movement, raising the possibility he had become the latest victim in a covert war over Iran’s nuclear aspirations. It is a war in which scientists find themselves potential soft targets.
Over the past three years, another nuclear scientist has died in mysterious circumstances, and a third vanished without trace while visiting Saudi Arabia last June. In the same period, a former deputy defence minister and general in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards also disappeared while on a visit to Istanbul.
The regime in Tehran has alleged the west is behind the disappearances, and was quick to blame the US and Israel for Mohammadi’s death. “Given the fact that Massoud Ali Mohammadi was a nuclear scientist, the CIA and Mossad services and agents most likely have had a hand in it,” Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi, Tehran’s chief prosecutor, told a state news agency.
The state department in Washington dismissed the accusation. Its spokesman, Mark Toner, told journalists: “Charges of US involvement are absurd.”
I suppose that it is a sign of the regime’s desperation that it has to resort to these kinds of tactics. But how many people have to die, before a desperate regime finally falls?