World News Brief, Wednesday January 13

Israel and US accused of killing Iranian scientist; Dutch inquiry finds Iraq war illegal; Campell testifies before British Iraq inquiry; WTO steps into US-China trade dispute; Nigerian president recovering; and more

Top of the Agenda: Iran Nuclear Physicist Bombing

Iran's state media blamed (WashPost) the United States and Israel for a bomb blast that killed an Iranian nuclear physicist, raising questions about his links to Iran's controversial nuclear enrichment program. Masoud Ali Mohammadi was killed as he left his house in northern Tehran. It is not clear whether Mohammadi was actively involved in Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, which controls the country's nuclear program. The bomb attack comes amid tensions between the government, a grassroots opposition movement, and international pressure over Iran's nuclear program. The Tabnak website, which has close ties to Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, accused the United States, Israel, and exiled opposition group the People's Mujaheddin Organization of Iran of orchestrating the attack. Compared to neighboring countries such as Iraq and Pakistan, bomb attacks in Iran are rare.

There have been past reports that many nuclear scientists or people wanting to join the Iranian nuclear organization have been intimidated, al-Jazeera reports.

Iranian authorities late last year broadened efforts against dissents to include the educational system and dissident professors. A number of hard-line clerics have called (NYT) for the university humanities curricula to be Islamized further, though it was not clear whether Mohammadi's killing was related to that. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Monday the United States and its allies were discussing financial sanctions that would appear to be aimed at the Revolutionary Guards if diplomacy with Iran fails.



In Newsweek, Sharon Begley examines the psychology behind Iranian support for the country's nuclear program.

In the Washington Post, CFR's Ray Takeyh writes, "As the United States and its allies wrestle with the issue of Iran's nuclear program, they would be wise to recognize the changes to the context in which their policy was framed."

In a CFR interview, Robin Wright says Iran's disparate but resilient protest coalition is motivated by a desire to reform the country's governing system.


A CFR Backgrounder examines Iran's nuclear program.


PACIFIC RIM: Japan Airlines Sale

Shares of Japan Airlines dropped 45 percent on the Tokyo Stock Exchange after rumors arose that the government planned to delist the beleaguered carrier. American Airlines said (WSJ) it was prepared to raise its offer to buy the company, in competition with Delta Airlines.

China: The World Trade Organization will establish (FT) a panel to investigate US import tariffs on Chinese tires levied in September in ongoing trade disputes between the two countries.



Dutch and British Iraq Probes
Bangladesh and India Strike Accords
Nigerian President Speaks About Return


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