The Crisis In The Middle East

Killing of Iranian nuclear scientist and its implications


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : JCPOA

Mains level : Paper 2- Peace and stability in the middle east

The assassination of Iran’s nuclear scientist has implication for the future of JCPOA and the peace and the stability of the region. The article explains why.


  • Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the Iranian scientist who led Iran’s nuclear weapons programme until it was disbanded, was assassinated last week.

JCPOA and U.S. Presidential election’s link with the

  • Assassinations in which Israeli hands were suspected had stopped after the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was signed.
  • The U.S. withdrew from the agreement when Trump became the U.S. President.
  • In retaliation of the withdrawal, Iran began enriching uranium and stockpiling it beyond JCPOA limits.
  • With that, the strategy of targeted assassinations seems to be back.
  • This strategy has assumed urgency with the election of Joe Biden in the U.S., who has expressed his desire to return to the JCPOA.

Understanding the Israel link

  • Israel government is apprehensive that Mr. Biden will imperil Israel’s nuclear monopoly in West Asia.
  • The assassination of Fakhrizadeh appears to be part of a larger Israeli plan in conjunction with Saudi Arabia to force the U.S. into taking military action against Iran.
  • An Israeli-Saudi nexus on this issue, when combined with President Trump’s, could culminate in a major military strike on Iran before he leaves office.

Win-win situation for Israel

  • If the Iranian government launches revenge attacks Mr. Netanyahu would be able to persuade the U.S. to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities.
  • If Iran shows restraint, Israel would have shown up the Iranian regime as weak while augmenting anti-American feelings in the country.
  • That anti-American feeling would make it difficult for the Biden administration to resume negotiations with Tehran on reviving JCPOA.


The fallout of the assassination, while benefiting Israel, will add to the instability in the region.

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