Opinion | The Fallout From the Killing of an Iranian Nuclear Scientist

To the Editor:

Re “Iran Struggles for a Response to Bold Strikes” (front page, Nov. 30):

I suspect that Israel chose to assassinate a high-level Iranian nuclear scientist with more than tacit approval from the outgoing Trump administration. Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, apparently saw what was undoubtedly his last chance to attack Iran, knowing that the incoming Biden administration would have no part in such an action, since Joe Biden wishes to build bridges instead of destroying them.

A sad commentary indeed on President Trump and the lengths to which he will go to make it difficult for Mr. Biden to overcome the president’s hateful legacy.

Richard M. Frauenglass
Huntington, N.Y.

To the Editor:

Re “Why Was Iran’s Top Nuclear Scientist Killed?” (Op-Ed, nytimes.com, Nov. 28):

Barbara Slavin argues that the assassination of Iran’s leading nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, was intended to and will make diplomacy with Iran more difficult.

Successful diplomacy is carried out from a position of strength, not weakness. Israel’s diplomatic position is enhanced when Iran is made to understand that its continuing pursuit of nuclear weapons will not be without cost.

Ms. Slavin asserts that, as a result of the assassination, “Iran may increase its support for Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad.” Iran has long been supporting these terrorist organizations and continued to do so before the ink was dry on its nuclear deal with the West. It hardly qualifies as “diplomacy” for the United States or Israel to be guided by a rogue nation’s threat not only to continue but also to increase its fomenting of terrorism.

Kenneth A. Margolis
Chappaqua, N.Y.

To the Editor:

Iran’s choice is not only between retaliation or waiting for a Biden administration to run interference for it.

There is a third option on the table: Iran can finally heed its citizens’ repeated demands to abandon its imperial ambitions and focus on their needs. The Iranian people have spoken out repeatedly and at great personal cost, getting gunned down or imprisoned. All they want is a government that will focus on their well-being and stop spending its resources on visions of imperial grandeur.

The Iranian people have no hatred for Jews and no interest in imposing their dictates on their Sunni neighbors. President Barack Obama ignominiously turned his back on the Iranian people’s 2009 Green Revolution. The question now is whether President Biden will make the same mistake and side with the ayatollahs against their own people.

Charles Knapp
Roxbury, Conn.

To the Editor:

Barbara Slavin describes the assassination of the military officer in charge of Iran’s nuclear bomb program as an illegal criminal act under international law. She did not express concern about possible violation of international law for a regime repeatedly threatening to destroy another country; exporting arms to support conflicts in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and Iraq that have displaced large numbers of civilians; or building a weapon of mass destruction.

Welcome to an Alice in Wonderland understanding of international law.

Steven Wilf
Hartford, Conn.
The writer is a professor of global commerce at the University of Connecticut School of Law.

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