A Dead Iranian Scientist and Israel’s “No Comment” Policy

A reader I’ll call A. in Australia wants to know about Israel and Mostafa Rashan, a Natanz uranium enrichment supervisor assassinated last week. She writes:

Yesterday, we had reports that a scientist in Iran was killed by the Mossad . . . Israel hasn’t answered the media’s queries. What have you to say about this?

While the US denied any involvement, Israel has a “no comment” policy, which means the government will never confirm or deny a connection to any covert activity around the world.

You can make the case that this info vacuum allows Israel’s name to be dragged through the mud, or you can argue that the swirl of mystery is good for the Mossad’s reputation — irrespective of whether it actually had a hand in the hit.

Either way, the no comment policy is what it is.

So absent Jerusalem’s confirmation or denial, we’re left with rumors, speculation, commentary, and anonymous sources making unverifiable cryptic comments more likely to serve their interests than the public’s. There’s a lot of all that in the papers now, and none of it qualifies as news. Talk is cheap.

It’s certainly possible Israel had a role in the attack, and it’s a legitimate point for discussion. Other countries besides Israel have an interest in undermining Iran’s nuclear program. And I’ve even heard rumors that Iran kills their own scientists if they fall out of favor.

But in the end, all we really know is that a scientist was killed by a car bomb and the regime is furious. Everything else  is just speculation.