The covert war waged against Iran is a practical strategy, a former top Israeli defense official told the New York Times Thursday.
The comment followed the assassination of yet another Iranian nuclear scientist, Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan – who served as the deputy director of the Natanz uranium enrichment facility – in Tehran on Wednesday.
Iran immediately accused Israel and the United States of perpetrating the hit. Washington and Jerusalem have remained largely mum on the subject.
The Iranian website Raja News, which is affiliated with Tehran's regime quoted an intelligence source as saying that the Islamic Republic's retaliation over the assassination will "reach beyond Iran and beyond the region," i.e. – the Middle East.
The source added that Iran has "good intelligence… none of those involved in ordering this operation should feel safe anywhere."
The Israeli official, meanwhile, stressed that the ambiguity was effective: "It’s not enough to guess," he said. "If you can't prove it, you can't retaliate. When it's very, very clear who's behind an attack, the world behaves differently."
Iran, he added, has carried out its fair share of enemy assassinations, targeting mostly Iranian opposition members during the 1980s and 1990s.
"In Arabic, there's a proverb: If you are shooting, don't complain about being shot," he said.
He added that such covert strategies aim to prevent all-out war: "I think the cocktail of diplomacy, of sanctions, of covert activity might bring us something. I think it's the right policy while we still have time," he told the paper.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is currently on an official tour of Latin America, has yet to comment directly on Roshan's assassination.
Ahmadinejad spoke before students at Havana University on Thursday and stated that the West was "punishing Iran for no reason."
"Have we ever attacked anyone? Have we sought more than we need? Never. We only want to pursue justice," he said .
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