November 29, 2010, 4:21 PM — The assassination of a nuclear scientist and statements from Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that the centrifuges that are central to its nuclear-development program were digitally sabotaged make it look a lot more likely that the Stuxnet worm was part of a coordinated, persistent attempt to derail the country's nuclear program.
Two Iranian scientists were actually attacked, by motorcyclists who maneuvered through traffic to attach bombs to the cars in which they rode. Majid Shahriari, who managed a "major project" for the country's Atomic Energy Organization was killed and another scientist was injured, according to a report in the NYT.
"Undoubtedly the hand of the Zionist regime and Western governments is involved," according to Ahmadinejad.
Ahmadinejad isn't exactly the most credible guy among world leaders. Among other things, he's denied the holocaust ever happened, said most people in the U.S. believed the U.S. government was behind the 9/11 attacks to help ensure Israel's survival, denied there were gays in Iran, and is among the more hyperbolic Israel-haters in the Muslim world.
He may be telling the straight truth in this case, but the odds are he's talking to create an impact, not to reveal that Stuxnet may (or may not) have damaged the centrifuges serving the Bushehr reactor, but to claim the West does more than just kill people to get what it wants.
Like many other strongman political leaders, the more he confronts the U.S., the more credible he becomes in other parts of the Muslim world.
No matter how much Ahmadinejad exaggerates the truth, however, it's hard to deny it looks as if someone is attacking Iran's nuclear program.
In addition to the one scientist killed and one wounded today, two other top nuclear experts have been murdered since the open
Shahriari is actually the third top nuclear scientist killed in Iran, according to the Times.