The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, an Iranian nuclear scientist, near Tehran on Friday, will inevitably spell bad news for regional peace and Iran-American relations. Fakhrizadeh, who headed research and innovation at Iran’s Defense Ministry, had already been noted by American and Israeli investigation agencies as being an important contributor to the alleged covert atomic bomb programme by Iran. Despite Iran’s denial that it is developing its nuclear programme, and an alleged fatwa by the Ayatullah against nuclear weapons, the West suspects Iran of seeking a coordinated nuclear weapons programme. Fakhrizadeh had also especially been named by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2018 as a threat.
Though no country has taken responsibility for this, with the above facts, one cannot blame Iran for suspecting Israeli involvement behind the attacks. The lack of denial on Israel’s and the silence from the US administration makes relations even more hostile. This is a pity; the victory of Joe Biden in the US 2020 presidential elections could have been a turning point in the US-Iran relations. The Trump administration had taken hostilities to the worst they had been in decades, to the point of rumours of war.
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Unfortunately, it seems that in its last few months, the Trump Administration is still determined to damage Iran-US relations to the point of no repair. Even with a Biden victory, and Biden’s stated plans to renegotiate the Iran deal, these last-minute attacks will make that much more difficult- putting the Biden administration in a worse negotiating position.
Despite the current administration’s best efforts, it is hoped that these futile attacks are put to an end soon and the sanctions on Iran are slowly loosened with a Biden administration. Not just for regional peace but a sanction less Iran is important for Pakistan to map out a path for regional development, along with China.