An Iranian nuclear scientist was assassinated on Jan 11 while on his morning commute, the fourth to suffer this fate in the last two years. Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan, an expert on a phase of uranium enrichment, perished on a Tehran street after an assassin in a passing motorcycle attached a magnetized explosive to the side of his Peugeot 405. Western intelligence sources told TIME magazine that these attacks were carried out by the Israeli secret service, Mossad. Israel is believed to be bent on stopping Iran from developing nuclear weapons, and its leaders frequently make thinly veiled suggestions that it may not be able to restrain itself from launching military action on Iran. At the same time, the Americans and Europeans have been applying increasing pressure on Iran by imposing increasingly severe economic sanctions.
This is one of the greatest potential flashpoints on the geopolitical map. Iran is arguably Israel’s most bitter enemy. In 2005, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad said that Israel must be “wiped off the map”. Given such obvious hostility, there is no way Israel will allow Iran to become a nuclear-armed state. Recent reports state that Iran is building a second nuclear enrichement facility in a bunker located deep inside a mountain near the city of Qom.
Some experts now fear that Israel will take military action against Iran within the next few months.
Think about nuclear weapons whenever you think about the impact that science and technology have on the world. All the attention tends to be drawn to developments in life sciences and IT these days, but don’t forget that science also has the potential to be almost infinitely destructive. In recent years, India and Pakistan have become nuclear-armed states, with North Korea and Iran also taking steps to join the nuclear club.
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