Tensions escalated between Iran, Israel, and the US on Wednesday after two assailants on a motorcycle rode by Iranian nuclear scientist Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan and planted a magnetic bomb on his car. As the motorcyclists roared away, the bomb detonated and killed Roshan. According to US intelligence sources—who deny being involved in the blast—Israel is routinely killing key persons in the Iranian atomic energy program in a secret war against Iran.

It isn’t the first time motorcycles have been used in attacks against Iranian atomic energy personnel. In early 2010, a bomb-rigged parked motorcycle was blown up remotely and killed Tehran University physics professor Masoud Ali Mohammadi as he walked by on his way to work. In July 2011, motorcycle-mounted gunmen shot and killed Darioush Rezaeinejad, an electronics student that reports have linked to Iranian attempts to make nuclear weapons.

That motorcycles are involved is hardly surprising. When riders are used in the attack, a quick getaway is possible by filtering through traffic, and then the motorcycle could easily be hidden inside a building or a van. Protective gear can be worn to help disguise the assailants—helmets wouldn’t arouse suspicious, but go a long way toward obscuring identities. In attacks without riders (like the remotely-detonated bomb attack that killed Masoud Ali Mohammadi), a motorcycle can be parked more places than a car without looking suspicious, can be parked in tighter spots, and is cheaper than a car as well.

Nick is a freelance journalist working with cars and motorcycles and runs the Metzeler Ride Experience blog.

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