Assasination of scientist marks restart of shooting war over Iranian nukes

Israel accused of motorcycle magnet-bombing that killed a fourth Iranian scientist

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That doesn't stop Tehran from flexing muscles it could use to either block the Strait or, potentially, attack regional opponents including Israel, however.

In addition to its nuclear capabilities, Iran has a well-funded, largely successful years-long program to develop short-, medium- and long-range missiles, some of which could be used to deliver nuclear weapons.

Jan. 2 naval exercises designed to demonstrate its dominance of the Gulf of Oman Jan. 2, Iran successfully test-fired new versions of its ship-to-shore and a surface-to-surface missiles, both of which have a range of 125 miles. Both could be used to enforce an Iranian decision to close the Straits of Hormuz, through which 20 percent of the world's oil moves via supertanker, as a way to counter military or political pressure from the West.

In 2009 Iran test-fired a longer-range missile, the Seijil-2, which is said to have a range of 1,200 miles.

Jerusalem is 970 miles from Tehran.

Tit-for-tat accusations, attacks

In a move likely to be an attempt at retaliation, Iranian courts sentenced 28-year-old former Marine Amir Mirzaei Hekmati to death this week after accusing the U.S.-born son of Iranian emigrant parents to have been a CIA spy.

Though not directly related to the bombings, a Venezuelan diplomat was declared persona non grata and barred from the country Sunday after being implicated in an allegedly Iran-sponsored effort to launch cyberattacks against U.S. nuclear facilities.

Venezuela and Iran are allied in their opposition to U.S. influence, a connection reinforced by a visit to Venezuela by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad earlier this week.

Photo Credit: 

Reuters

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