JERUSALEM -- Israeli leaders typically greet word of violent setbacks to Iran's nuclear program with a wall of silence. Now a throwaway comment by Israel's military chief has hinted of possible Israeli involvement in attacks like the explosion that killed an Iranian nuclear scientist Wednesday.
The car bombing in Tehran was the latest in a string of murky mishaps for Iran's nuclear program caused by computer worms, explosions and assassinations of top experts. Israel, which has identified a nuclear Iran as an existential threat, is widely suspected of involvement.
While officials never comment on covert military activities, testimony by Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz to a closed parliamentary committee on Tuesday appeared particularly prescient.
The Israeli military leader told the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday that "2012 is expected to be a critical year for Iran." He cited "the confluence of efforts to advance the nuclear program, internal leadership changes, continued international pressure and things that happen to it unnaturally."
Gantz's testimony was leaked by a meeting participant who spoke on condition of anonymity because the testimony was closed.
Israeli officials in the past have spoken somewhat giddily of the "unnatural" setbacks that have plagued Iran's nuclear program. The timing of Gantz's testimony, just hours before Wednesday's assassination, was perhaps the strongest hint yet of Israeli involvement.
In a statement posted on Facebook, the chief military spokesman, Brig. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, said: "I don't know who settled the score with the Iranian scientist, but I certainly am not shedding a tear."
Hazhir Teimourian, an Iran expert at the Limehouse Group of Analysts in London, stressed it was impossible to be certain who carried out the attack. But he said Israel was a logical candidate.
"The Israelis really have the ability and the incentive," he said...[Full Article]