January 11th, 2012
10:11 AM ET

Roundup: Iranian nuclear scientist killed

Editor's Note: The following is reprinted with the permission of the Council on Foreign Relations.

An Iranian nuclear scientist died in Tehran today after a motorcyclist attached a magnetic bomb to his car (NYT), Iranian authorities said. The killing of Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan–a supervisor at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility–comes amid mounting tensions between Iran and the United States over the former's nuclear program, which the West says is intended for manufacturing nuclear weapons. Iran blamed the United States and Israel for the car bomb attack.

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Analysis

"No one doubts that Israeli and Western operators are behind recent assassinations of nuclear scientists on the streets of Tehran. And the sudden frequency of 'accidents' at various factories and Revolutionary Guards bases has done nothing to change the minds of either government officials or the general public about the nuclear program," writes Hooman Majd in Foreign Affairs.

"Does anyone doubt that some combination of the two nations completely obsessed with Iran's nuclear program–Israel and the U.S.–are responsible? At the very least, there has been no denunciation from any Obama officials of whoever it might be carrying out such acts," writes Glen Greenwald on Salon.com.

"It is true that the extensive circumstantial evidence is damning, and Iran has never fully implemented its Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) Safeguards Agreement. But is it in U.S. national interest to bomb Iran to defend the principle of full cooperation with the IAEA? I would say no," writes Micah Zenko on his CFR blog, Politics, Power, and Preventive Action.

MIDDLE EAST

Arab League Monitor Criticizes Syria Mission

A former Arab League observer in Syria, Anwar Malek, said a mission monitoring the implementation of an agreed peace plan was a "farce," and that the Syrian regime was continuing to commit "war crimes" against its people (al-Jazeera).

More and more outsiders are calling for a humanitarian intervention in Syria to stop Bashar al-Assad's killing sprees. But for this to work, Syria's various opposition groups will have to first coalesce into a single, unified political and military force, writes Michael Weiss in Foreign Affairs.

PACIFIC RIM

Geithner Pressures China over Iran

During a visit to Beijing, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner encouraged Chinese officials to reduce China's imports of Iranian crude oil (WSJ), outlining a new U.S. sanctions policy that seeks to punish countries that trade with Iran.

The new sanctions regime places the U.S. tactics and objectives–a negotiated end to Iran's nuclear ambitions–at odds. In effect, the administration has backed itself into a policy of regime change, an outcome it has little ability to influence, writes Suzanne Maloney in Foreign Affairs.

NORTH KOREA: The government criticized the United States for "politicizing" food aid (KoreaTimes) by conditioning it on North Korea's suspension of its uranium-enrichment program, but indicated it might still be open to a deal.

SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA

Pakistan's Judiciary Threatens PM

The Pakistani Supreme Court threatened to depose Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani for not reopening corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari (NYT), in a further setback for the governing Pakistan People's Party.

PAKISTAN: A U.S. drone strike (AFP) on a militant compound in the tribal region of North Waziristan killed four in the first such attack in nearly two months.

Pakistan's stability is of great consequence to regional and international security. Examine the roots of its challenges, what it means for the region and the world, and explore some plausible futures for the country with this CFR Crisis Guide.

AFRICA

Obama to Send Military Officers to South Sudan

U.S. President Barack Obama said he will send five U.S. military officers to Juba to assist the United Nations mission (SAPA/AP) in South Sudan, following fresh outbreaks of ethnic violence in the recently independent country.

NIGERIA: A nationwide strike entered a third day (Reuters) over a government decision to revoke fuel subsidies, as the country continued to face mounting sectarian tensions between Muslims and Christians.

In his blog, Africa in Transition, CFR's John Campbell questions whether Nigerians' distrust of their government will make it possible to reach a deal over fuel subsidies.

AMERICAS

Romney Wins New Hampshire Primary

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney won the New Hampshire Republican primary with 39.4 percent of the vote (NYT). Rep. Ron Paul of Texas and former Utah governor Jon Huntsman came in second and third place, respectively.

CFR's Campaign 2012 project examines the foreign policy and domestic issues expected to dominate the U.S. presidential election.

COLOMBIA: President Juan Manuel Santos rejected an overture by FARC leaders (BBC) to engage in peace talks, saying the rebels needed to move beyond "rhetoric." Santos has said FARC rebels must release all hostages and cease attacks as a precondition for negotiations.

EUROPE

Merkel and Monti to Discuss Euro Crisis

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti will meet in Berlin today, where discussions are expected to focus on methods for promoting economic growth in the beleaguered eurozone (WSJ), in addition to implementing the tough austerity measures demanded by Germany.

Investors continue to doubt EU leaders' ability to address the sovereign debt crisis, even as banks face a liquidity crunch, explains this CFR Analysis Brief.

ITALY: Prime Minister Mario Monti's technocratic government is expected to issue a decree law targeting monopolies and special interests (Guardian), while also seeking to reform Italy's rigid labor laws.

RENEWING AMERICA

More Corporations Paying No Federal Taxes

According to the IRS (WSJ), the percentage of U.S. businesses paying nothing in federal income tax has soared from about 24 percent in 1986 to about 69 percent as of 2008. The firms, known as "pass-through" entities, pass income to investors who then pay taxes as individuals.

Jane G. Gravelle and Thomas L. Hungerford of the Congressional Research Service examine the controversies regarding corporate tax reforms.

EDUCATION: The Education Department released its first annual report profiling the progress made by the twelve states awarded funding under Obama's "Race to the Top" education innovation program. Three states—New York, Hawaii, and Florida—fell short in making timely reforms.

Renewing America is a special CFR project focused on the domestic underpinnings of U.S. global competitiveness, including the debt and deficit, infrastructure, education, innovation, trade, and corporate regulation and taxes.

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Topics: Daily Roundup • Iran

soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Hahahahahahahahaha

    Get ready for more!!!!!!!!!! Hahahahahahahahahaha.

    January 11, 2012 at 10:18 am | Reply
  2. Truth

    “A computer virus known as Stuxnet effectively set back Iran's nuclear program in 2009 and 2010 by launching a malware program that went undetected until damage to an Iranian nuclear facility had already been done. Who created Stuxnet remains a mystery”…Wrong! Most of the free world knows that Stuxnet is the work of The Poodle.

    January 11, 2012 at 11:55 am | Reply
  3. j. von hettlingen

    Iran's state authorities have to find out who was responsible for the killing of the Iranian nuclear scientist. Israel's Mossad? Quite likely! An insider job staged by the regime forces? Maybe. Other clandestine forces in order to add more fuels to the fire? Most probably.

    January 11, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Reply
  4. ATTACK IRAN NOW

    if obama want to win the election 200% he must attack iran now and show the world that this dark evil empire can be stopped. thos evil thugs shiia of iran are helping the terrorists orginization hizboallah and syria thugs bashar al kalb and nori al maleki of iraq evil helping evil. iran has the weapon of mass destruction , sanction will be not good for those thugs,

    January 11, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Reply
  5. j. von hettlingen

    Mitt Romney won the primary in New Hampshire. I still think that Huntsman will stick around for a while. Be ready for surprises!

    January 11, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Reply
  6. j. von hettlingen

    Amid the schism between the civilian government and the military, especially the ISI, Pakisitan's supreme court steps in as a stabiliser. Maybe Zardari's days are numbered. More turmoil lies ahead.

    January 11, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Reply
  7. thomas

    Israel is a rogue terrorist state, trying to drag the USA into a nuclear war.

    January 11, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Reply
  8. Matt

    Means something to someone. Won't be seeing that Mahdi again. He is playing cards with Qaddafi.

    Think of it as a motorcyclist road safety message 'kill others not yourself' 'live to ride, ride to live'

    What did one Mahdi say to other, one eyeball went this way one eyeball went that way.

    That means something to you to doesn't it.

    It wasn't a trike so we know it wasn't Vlad. moonlighting.

    January 11, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Reply
  9. Snowwhite

    the jews who killed the Iranian scientist are bolshevik criminals. If the USA knew of this, then the individuals and bosses who knew of this have committed crimes against humanity and must be put on trial for murder and given the harshest sentences because where much is given much is required.

    January 11, 2012 at 9:24 pm | Reply

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