The Politics of the Death of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh

The Story:

As yet unidentified assailants killed Iranian nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, and three of his bodyguards, in Absard, a city near Tehran, the country’s capital, on November 27. There is a widespread suspicion that the assailants were Israeli commandos. The New York Times says that Fakhrizadeh has long been the number one target of the Israel’s Mossad, which believes that the best way to limit the progress of a nuclear-weapons program in Iran is to decapitate it.


US foreign policy, under Presidents of both parties, has long supported Israel’s right to exist as a sovereign state, on the land it now occupies. But there are important differences between the parties about the nature and range of this support. The Trump administration, for example, supported Israel’s claims that Jerusalem is its capital and has moved the US embassy there from Tel Aviv, accepting a fair amount of kick-back from Democratic Party politicians in making that decision.

The Thing to Know:

On the assumption that the death of Fakhrizadeh was in fact the work of Mossad, one can reasonably make this inference: had the Trump administration won re-election, it would enthusiastically support Israel’s action, and might seek to protect Israel from Iranian retaliation. The Biden administration, on the other hand, might be expected to keep some diplomatic distance between its own position and that of the Israeli government.

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