Both Washington and Israel have seized upon a string of abortive bomb plots in India, Georgia and Thailand to escalate war threats against Iran.
In India, an unknown individual on a motorcycle attached a bomb to a car in which the wife of an Israeli diplomat was riding in Delhi on February 13. The woman and the car's driver were lightly injured. On the same day in Tbilisi, Georgia, a bomb was discovered attached to an Israeli embassy vehicle and defused.
And in Bangkok, Thailand, three individuals identified as Iranians were arrested after a bizarre incident Tuesday in which explosives detonated inside their apartment and one of them blew off his own legs with a homemade grenade.
The three incidents, in which there were no fatalities, were immediately labeled by the Israeli government as terrorist attacks organized by Tehran that, in the words of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, demonstrated why all nations must draw "red lines against Iranian aggression."
"Iran's terror operations are now exposed for all to see," Netanyahu said during a Knesset [Israeli parliament] plenum on Wednesday. "Iran is undermining the world's stability and harms innocent diplomats."
What was striking about the first two incidents in Delhi and Tbilisi was that they involved the use of devices -- bombs attached by magnets to cars -- similar to those used to assassinate at least four Iranian nuclear scientists over the past two years.
The reported aim of these attacks has been to sabotage Iran's supposed quest for a nuclear weapon, although Tehran has denied such aims and neither the International Atomic Energy Agency nor anyone else has provided evidence that Iran is seeking nuclear arms. For its part, Israel is believed to possess some 400 nuclear weapons.
As US intelligence officials and Israeli sources have confirmed, those terrorist attacks--the latest of which claimed the life of Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, a scientist employed at Iran's Natanz uranium enrichment facility, on January 11--were organized by the Israeli spy agency, Mossad, in collaboration with operatives of the MeK, or People's Mujahedin, a group classified by Washington as an international terrorist organization.
Despite Israel's assertions, no officials in any of the three countries that were the scene of the latest incidents have charged the Iranian government with responsibility.
What all three bomb plots appear to have in common is their inept, amateurish character. This was particularly the case in Bangkok, where the three individuals involved made no attempt at concealing their identities--all of them carried Iranian passports, moved into a building close to an Iranian cultural center and then proceeded to blow themselves up.
In Georgia, a government official suggested that a Georgian employee of the embassy may have been targeted for personal reasons.
Why Iran, if it were to seek revenge for Mossad's murder of its scientists, would choose to do it in two friendly Asian countries -- India is the world's largest importer of Iranian oil -- is far from clear. Nor for that matter does the wife of a low-level diplomat seem a likely target for such retaliation.
One curious piece of information was published in the Times of India Thursday. It seems that the chief of Mossad, Tamir Pardo, flew to Delhi just days before the bomb attack as the head of a large delegation of Israeli intelligence agents. While there he held talks with Indian officials on the possible threat of Iranian attacks.
In India itself, there is substantial skepticism about Israel's charges of Iranian culpability in the attack.
As Times of India columnist Shobhan Saxena commented Wednesday: