In Iran, this summer was a season of combustions. As fires and explosions followed hard upon one another, the New York Times reported that “for many Iranians, anticipating what will blow up next has become a kind of parlor game.”
Some of these conflagrations must have been natural occurrences: A string of forest fires owed much to a period of intense heat. Some fires or blasts at industrial facilities were likely the consequence of derelict maintenance due to foreign sanctions or managerial incompetence. Others, however, were attributed to arson or the detonation of bombs. The culprits may conceivably have been local: militant Kurds, Arabs, or Baluchis, fighting for independence. Or they may have been agents of the U.S. or Saudi Arabia or other Arab Gulf states.
But most speculation understandably focused on Iran’s chosen main enemy, Israel. In May Israeli officials had made little effort to conceal their responsibility for a computer disaster at Bandar-Abbas, Iran’s main southern port, which caused long delays of ships and trucks and severe disruption of operations. This was generally recognized as retaliation for the foiled Iranian cyberattack on Israeli water systems a few weeks before. Commentary read more