Foreign PolicyForeign Policy

Why Does Israel Keep Assassinating Iranian Officials? Because It Works.

By Danielle Pletka

29 Jun 2022 · 6 min read

Editor's Note

Does a foreign policy that employs assassination actually work? This Foreign Policy analysis notes it's certainly working in the case of Israel, to some extent.

On Sept. 11, 1962, German rocket scientist Heinz Krug disappeared from his office in Munich, never to be seen again. Like several other veterans of the Nazi missile program, Krug was working for the Egyptian government of Gamal Abdel Nasser, whose nation had already fought two wars with the young state of Israel. The backstory is long and complicated—involving Benito Mussolini, Eva Perón, and hidden Nazi gold—but the short version is that the Mossad, Israel’s chief intelligence agency, recruited a Nazi once close to Adolf Hitler to knock Krug off.

But, although it might have been Israel’s most film noir-worthy tale of assassination, it certainly wasn’t its last. This year, in late May and June, seven individuals affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), including two colonels, were killed in separate incidents. Iran, unsurprisingly, has fingered the Mossad in most of the deaths.

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