Hecker & Milani: Stop killing Iranian nuclear scientists

CISAC's Siegfried Hecker and Abbas Milani note in this article for the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists that for merely working in their field of expertise, Iranian nuclear scientists face perils and pressures that are nothing less than Shakespearean. The question for them is, in a very real sense, "To be or not to be." In the course of the last four decades, these scientists have faced intimidation and severe punishment, including prison terms, at the hands of their own government. In recent years, at least five Iranian nuclear scientists have been the target of assassination attempts often attributed to Israeli intelligence. Regardless of their source, all such threats against scientists are morally indefensible. They offend the scientific spirit, working against the free exchange of ideas that is necessary for humanity to advance. The authors assert, these threats against scientists in Iran undermine global peace, targeting experts whose international collaboration is required to deal effectively with the nuclear risks facing the world today. Simply put, killing nuclear scientists makes reducing the threat of nuclear war harder, not easier.