U.S. pushing Israel to stop assassinating Iranian nuclear scientists

WASHINGTON — As Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flies to Washington – due to arrive on Sunday (March 2), to prepare for talks with President Barack Obama at the White House on Monday – it’s clear that there are several points of friction between Israel and the United States.

The two countries are allies, but their leaders often differ on the details of key issues: Israel’s peace talks with the Palestinians, America’s nuclear talks with Iran, how to approach political turmoil in Egypt, what might be done to limit Syria’s horrible civil war, and a broader issue of whether the Middle East sees President Obama as a powerful, influential leader.

Although Israel has never acknowledged it, the country’s famed espionage agency – the Mossad – ran an assassination campaign for several years aimed at Iran’s top nuclear scientists. The purpose was to slow the progress made by Iran, which Israel feels certain is aimed at developing nuclear weapons; and to deter trained and educated Iranians from joining their country’s nuclear program.

At least five Iranian scientists were murdered, most of them by bombs planted on their cars as they drove to work in the morning. Remarkably, the Israeli assassins were never caught – obviously having long-established safe houses inside Iran – although several Iranians who may have helped the Mossad were arrested and executed.

In addition to strong signals from the Obama Administration that the U.S. did not want Israel to continue the assassinations, Mossad officials concluded that the campaign had gotten too dangerous. They did not want their best combatants – Israel’s term for its most talented and experienced spies – captured and hanged.

Full article: U.S. pushing Israel to stop assassinating Iranian nuclear scientists (CBS)

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