Tehran Abuzz as Book Says Israel Killed 5 Scientists (NY) TIMES) By ARTIN AFKHAMI 07/12/12)
NEW YORK TIMES
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The latest literary sensation in Tehran is a thriller about Iran’s
nuclear program that is laden with espionage, cunning and political
murder. But its authors are not former Iranian intelligence
operatives or Iranian military fiction writers. They are not the
Iranian equivalent of Tom Clancy.
The book, “Spies Against Armageddon: Inside Israel’s Secret Wars,”
has set off a buzz among both government and opposition news media
inside Iran for the assertion by its authors — Yossi Melman, widely
regarded as a leading Israeli military and intelligence journalist,
and Dan Raviv, a CBS national political correspondent — that five
Iranian nuclear scientists killed in the past five years were all
assassinated by operatives, most likely of Persian Jewish heritage,
employed by Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency.
Israel has neither confirmed nor denied it is responsible for the
Iranian news sources view the book, published Monday in English by
Levant Books, a small company in Sea Cliff, N.Y., as an Israeli-
written work exposing something the Israeli authorities do not want
the world to know.
“Spies Against Armageddon” offers a broad overview of a widely
reported Israeli campaign to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program, which
Israeli authorities contend is a guise for developing nuclear
weapons, an accusation the Iranians strenuously deny.
But the book’s assertion that the assassins were all Mossad agents
who used agency safe houses maintained inside Iran since the era of
the shah is new.
Iran’s state-financed Press TV focused in a Persian-language article
on the book’s assertion that a Mossad unit known as Kidon — meaning
Tip of the Spear in Hebrew, and responsible for assassinations and
kidnapping — sent operatives to Tehran to carry out the
assassinations over the past five years.
The Press TV report focused on the operatives’ nationality, pointing
out that almost all the assassins employed by Kidon were either
Iranian nationals or had dual citizenship. The implication was that
they were citizens of Iran and Israel. Most people who hold such
citizenship are of Iranian Jewish extraction.
A Web site whose Persian name translates to Soft War, which is
dedicated to documenting all forms of “psychological operations and
soft war” against Iran, ridicules the book’s assertions as “the
biggest joke of the century,” specifically the claim that Mossad
operatives are skilled enough to have sneaked inside Iran; placed
sophisticated, magnetized bombs on the vehicles of four of the five
scientists; managed to flood the house of a fifth with carbon
monoxide; and escaped safely to Tel Aviv.
There are no plans to translate the book into Persian, but interest
has spread across the political spectrum, as Iranian reformist
newspapers have rushed to summarize and translate its contents.
Political blogs on both the left and the right have written analyses
The authors base their conclusions on reporting of public interviews,
statements by Israeli leaders, leaked State Department cables and off-
the-record meetings between the authors and Israeli officials.
But they do not cite sources for their assertions about the
assassins’ nationalities or religious beliefs, which have gathered
the greatest reaction in the Iranian press, or their statement that
the assassinations were “blue and white,” meaning carried out by
Israeli agents from start to finish.
Mr. Raviv refers to the book’s style as “synthesis,” assertions
stated as facts, without citing interviews, quotations or even
The question of the assassins’ nationalities has been of special
interest in Iran, where a suspect in one of the attacks was hanged
last month. Officials announced the arrest last month of a group of
suspects, describing them as agents of what Iran calls the Zionist
regime without identifying their nationalities. Though the book is
unlikely to end speculation about who is responsible for the covert
assassination campaign against Iran’s nuclear scientists, its
assertions correspond with a longstanding assumption among many
security experts in Washington’s policy circles. (Copyright 2012 The
New York Times Company 07/12/12)
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