Enraged Iranian officials are vowing retaliation against Israel, the US and the UK over the latest assassination of a nuclear scientist, 32-year-old Mustafa Ahmadi Roshan, in Tehran.
A former Iranian ambassador who served in Mexico and Italy recommended that an American being held in Tehran be executed in retaliation for the assassination. “The terrorist attack on the scientist must not be left unanswered and therefore it is advisable to immediately execute [the suspected CIA spy [Amir Mirzai Hekmati] at the site of the explosion,” recommended former Ambassador Mohamed Hassan Qadiri in a post on his blog.
He added that had Iran not released two Americans in September 2011 who were also charged with espionage, they too could have been executed.
Hekmati, an American of Iranian descent, had been arrested by Iranian intelligence personnel who claimed he was spying for the CIA. His father, a professor in Michigan, told reporters that the ex-Marine was visiting his grandmothers in Iran when he was picked up by Iranian security forces.
Iran's Press TV quoted armed forces chief Brig.-Gen. Massoud Jazayeri on Sunday as saying, “The opponents of the [Islamic] Revolution and the nation's progress should have no doubt that the punitive response to the U.S., the Zionist regime and their criminal accomplices will be delivered in an opportune time.”
Jazayeri expressed particular anger at the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which he said had endangered Iranian nuclear scientists by releasing their names to the public where they could be found by “supporters of state terrorism.”
The UK said Sunday, meanwhile, that it will continue to support European Union sanctions against Iran. “We have never ruled anything out,” British Foreign Secretary William Hague told Sky News television. “We have not ruled out any option, or supported any option. We believe all options should be on the table – that is part of the pressure on Iran. But we are clearly not calling for, or advocating, military action,” he said.
Israel's Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya'alon, meanwhile, noted with some disappointment that 2012 presidential election year considerations appeared to be guiding the decisions of the White House vis a vis Iran.
France and Britain “are taking a very firm stand and understand that sanctions must be imposed immediately,” Ya'alon pointed out. But U.S. President Barack Obama left loopholes in the measures he signed on December 31 imposing sanctions against the Islamic Republic's central bank and oil export.
Iran has been playing chicken with the United States and Western nations through military drills that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said will culminate in an exercise designed to "tune up" Iran's military capability to close the Strait of Hormuz at a moment's notice. The waterway is the sole shipping lane for some 40 percent of the Western world's oil supplies.