Car bomb attacks on workers at two Israeli embassies in India and Georgia could help provide a pretext for a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Israel immediately blamed Iran and Hezbollah for the attacks, which occurred overnight.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility. But if the Israeli accusations are verified they would represent Iran’s first confirmed retaliation for a series of recent attacks in Iran aimed at killing Iranian atomic scientists and sabotaging Iran’s disputed nuclear program, the source of rising tensions between Iran and the West. Iran has said it would avenge those attacks, which it has blamed on Israel.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel said the bombing in India and attempted bombing in Georgia were part of what he called a campaign of terrorism by Iran and the Iranian-based Lebanese militant group, Hezbollah, aimed at Israel, which Iran regards as an implacable enemy.
“In the past few months we have witnessed several attempts to attack Israeli citizens and Jews in a number of places — Azerbaijan, Thailand and others,” Mr. Netanyahu said in a statement. “In each of those cases we managed to thwart the attacks with the cooperation of local officials. In all of those cases, those who stood behind the attacks were Iran and its proxy, Hezbollah.”
Netanyahu has provided nothing but rhetorical evidence for these assertions. And let’s point out that so far, there have been only two injuries and no deaths in these bombings, in addition to the total lack of evidence of a connection to Iran. The similarity comes with how the attacks happened. In the Indian case, a motorcycle tailing the car carrying the Israeli embassy worker put a magnetic bomb on the back of the car and drove away. This is similar to how several Iranian nuclear scientists have been targeted in Iran.
But the method, which presumes retaliation, does not constitute evidence against Iran, and it certainly does not mean that Iran “stands behind” attacks on Israeli citizens all over the world. If Netanyahu has evidence of these serious allegations he can show it.
The consequences of a strike on Iran would be grave enough that we cannot take it on faith from Israel that they are acting in self-defense from an imminent threat. We went through that in this country with respect to Iraq.