World News Brief, Thursday January 12

US and Israel accused of assination after Iranian nuclear scientist killed in mysterious motorcycle bomb attack; Should America resort of bombing?; Geithner tells China to cool relationship with Iran; North Korea condemns US for "politicising" food aid; Mitt Romney close to line in race for Republican nomination after NH win; Italy's government looks to end monopolies and vested interests; Arab League mission to Syria labelled "a farce"

Top of the Agenda: Iranian Nuclear Scientist Killed

An Iranian nuclear scientist died in Tehran today after a motorcyclist attached a magnetic bomb to his car (NYT), Iranian authorities said. The killing of Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan--a supervisor at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility--comes amid mounting tensions between Iran and the United States over the former's nuclear program, which the West says is intended for manufacturing nuclear weapons. Iran blamed the United States and Israel for the car bomb attack.


"No one doubts that Israeli and Western operators are behind recent assassinations of nuclear scientists on the streets of Tehran. And the sudden frequency of 'accidents' at various factories and Revolutionary Guards bases has done nothing to change the minds of either government officials or the general public about the nuclear program," writes Hooman Majd in Foreign Affairs.

"Does anyone doubt that some combination of the two nations completely obsessed with Iran's nuclear program--Israel and the US--are responsible? At the very least, there has been no denunciation from any Obama officials of whoever it might be carrying out such acts," writes Glen Greenwald on

"It is true that the extensive circumstantial evidence is damning, and Iran has never fully implemented its Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) Safeguards Agreement. But is it in US national interest to bomb Iran to defend the principle of full cooperation with the IAEA? I would say no," writes Micah Zenko on his CFR blog, Politics, Power, and Preventive Action.


Geithner Pressures China over Iran

During a visit to Beijing, US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner encouraged Chinese officials to reduce China's imports of Iranian crude oil (WSJ), outlining a new US sanctions policy that seeks to punish countries that trade with Iran.

The new sanctions regime places the US tactics and objectives--a negotiated end to Iran's nuclear ambitions--at odds. In effect, the administration has backed itself into a policy of regime change, an outcome it has little ability to influence, writes Suzanne Maloney in Foreign Affairs.

NORTH KOREA: The government criticized the United States for "politicizing" food aid (KoreaTimes) by conditioning it on North Korea's suspension of its uranium-enrichment program, but indicated it might still be open to a deal.



Italy's technocrats go after "vested interests"

Romney on-track for nomination after winning New Hampshire

Former observer calls Arab League mission "a farce"

This is an excerpt of the Daily News Brief. The full version is available on