IRAN/ISRAEL/USA – The Assassination of Fakhrizadeh: Considerations and Consequences (Amos Yadlin, Assaf Orion, INSS)

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizada invites six questions: Who is responsible for the act? What was the objective? Why now? What are the consequences of the assassination? How will Iran respond? What is the recommended policy for Israel in light of this development? This article contends that barring narrow political considerations, whoever ordered Fakhrizadeh’s assassination apparently tried to achieve three strategic objectives: damage Iran’s nuclear program; obstruct the Biden administration’s return to the nuclear agreement; and perhaps, though less likely, encourage an escalation that would result in a US attack on Iran’s nuclear sites. The first objective seems to have been achieved, although the response to the assassination is still ahead and may exact a costly price. Attainment of the other two goals depends heavily on the Iranian response, but in any case, these are far-reaching objectives with slimmer chances of realization.