As time has elapsed since the killing of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh on 27 November, the chances for quick retaliation are fading away.
After the assassination, in an operation east of Tehran attributed to Israel’s Mossad, senior Iranian leaders have used harsh language to promise revenge, not only against Israel but also the United States and Israel’s new allies in the region, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.
Among those vowing retribution were President Hassan Rouhani and military confidants of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, including former Defence Minister Ahmad Wahidi.
But the inflammatory rhetoric subdsided. Gut feelings made room for cool-headed decisions. The first question to be asked is, why? Why did Israel decide to kill him?
Fakhrizadeh was a gifted nuclear physicist, who taught and researched at Imam Hossein University in his nation’s capital city. But he was also a brigadier-general in the Revolutionary Guard and deputy defence minister.
For years, Israeli, American, British and German intelligence services have said that his academic credentials were just a front for his real work as head of the secret military nuclear programme focusing on weaponisation – to produce nuclear bombs.