The top Iranian nuclear scientist has been killed, apparently in an Israeli strike. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who has long been the mastermind of the Iranian nuclear program, was gunned down in an attack with a remote control machine gun. Iranian reprisals are expected, although their timing and nature is not clear. It also puts the incoming Biden administration, which is looking to bring back the Iran nuclear deal, in a bit of a pickle.
To chew it all over, Benjamin Wittes sat down with Scott R. Anderson, international law specialist and Lawfare senior editor; Suzanne Maloney, the vice president and director of the Foreign Policy Program at the Brookings Institution and an Iran scholar; and Natan Sachs, director of the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings where he focuses on Israeli policy. They talked about why the Israelis would conduct this operation, how effective its killing of Iranian nuclear scientists has been, whether any of it is legal and what it means for the future of U.S.-Iran relations.