Is a Covert War against Iran Already Underway?

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By most accounts, Iran is secretly racing to obtain a nuclear bomb. Its leaders want to conquer the world for Islam, and Western sanctions and threats of a military strike have not curtailed Tehran's ambitions.

But is there already a clandestine war underway?

"In recent years we have evidence of covert war against both Iranian nuclear program and Iranian missile program," said Mickey Segall, former director of the Israeli military's Iranian intelligence department.

Last month, Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, a key Iranian nuclear scientist, was killed when a motorcyclist attached a magnetic bomb to his car. Iranian officials said there have been five such attacks against senior nuclear scientists.

Meanwhile, it's not just the scientists who are being targeted.

"If we look at these covert operations against Iran, it combined hitting [the] missile program and the nuclear program. And the missile program is delivering. It's the platform that delivers the bomb," said Segall, head of the political analysis team for Terrogence Ltd., and a researcher at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

On Nov. 12, a mysterious blast shook a missile base near Tehran, killing the developer of Iran's missile program.

Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya'alon said Iran was using the facility to develop a missile capable of hitting the United States.

Even earlier, the Stuxnet virus disrupted computers connected to the nuclear program causing centrifuges enriching uranium to spin out of control.

So who could be behind it?

According to NBC News, U.S. officials said an Iranian opposition group, backed by the Israeli Mossad, had carried out the assassinations.

Iran's Foreign Ministry rebuked Republic of Azerbaijan over the weekend, saying it was helping the Mossad to spy on the Islamic regime.

But Segall said many would like to prevent a nuclear Iran.

"I think that if you look to Western states, even Arab states, Sunni Arab states that are also threatened by now Iranian subversive activity... on one hand we have Saudi Arabia, which is the biggest opponent and rival of Iran in the region." Segall noted.

"And you have, of course, all Western states that are threatened by Iranian nuclear capability," he added.

Still, despite the success of this covert war, Segall said it won't stop the Iranians in the end.

"It will maybe stop it for a few months, maybe years buy time for the international community to use other methods such as sanctions," Segall said. "But it will not stop the Iranians from achieving the goal of achieving the first Shiite bomb in the area."

Former Israeli Ambassador Yoram Ettinger saif the covert war is only wasting time.

"Every day that we delay, the only option, mainly preemption military operation, enables the Iranians to dig in deeper and to fortify more," he warned.

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