- Former CIA Director John Brennan has condemned the assassination of a top Iranian nuclear scientist on Friday, calling it “criminal” and “highly reckless.”
- Brennan, who served between 2013 and 2017, also said he did not know who was to blame for the killing but that it “would be a flagrant violation of international law.”
- Details on the attack remain slim but Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, pointed the finger at Israel on Friday, saying there are “serious indications” of Israeli involvement.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Former CIA Director John Brennan has condemned a top Iranian nuclear scientist’s reported assassination on Friday, calling it “criminal” and “highly reckless.”
Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a former officer in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), was killed in an ambush on his car on Friday while driving through Absard, a town located 50 miles outside the capital Tehran.
“This was a criminal act & highly reckless,” Brennan tweeted on Friday afternoon. “It risks lethal retaliation & a new round of regional conflict.”
Brennan, who served under the Obama administration, also said he did not know who was to blame for the killing but that it “would be a flagrant violation of international law.”
“I do not know whether a foreign government authorised or carried out the murder of Fakhrizadeh. Such an act of state-sponsored terrorism would be a flagrant violation of international law & encourage more governments to carry out lethal attacks against foreign officials,” Brennan tweeted.
This was a criminal act & highly reckless. It risks lethal retaliation & a new round of regional conflict.
Iranian leaders would be wise to wait for the return of responsible American leadership on the global stage & to resist the urge to respond against perceived culprits. https://t.co/0uZhyBTM3S
— John O. Brennan (@JohnBrennan) November 27, 2020
Details on the reported attack remain slim. In a statement on Friday, Iran’s defence ministry said that “armed terrorists” had targeted a vehicle carrying Fakhrizadeh, adding that the scientist “was severely injured.”
He later died in the hospital.
No group or government has claimed responsibility for Friday’s attack so far.
However, Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, pointed the finger at Israel on Friday, saying there are “serious indications” of Israeli involvement.
He tweeted:“Terrorists murdered an eminent Iranian scientist today. This cowardice â€” with serious indications of Israeli role â€” shows desperate warmongering of perpetrators.”
The reported assassination also came less than two weeks after the New York Times reported that President Trump had consulted senior advisors about the possibility of conducting a strike on Iran’s main nuclear facility.
Trump was reportedly advised against this, with several top aides warning it could trigger a broader conflict with the Islamic republic.
Fakhrizadeh’s reported assassination comes less than a year after Trump ordered a drone strike that killed Qassem Solemani â€” the country’s top general â€” pushing US-Iran relations to the brink of war.
In August, Al-Qaeda’s second-in-command, Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, was gunned down on the streets of Tehran by Israeli operatives acting at the behest of the US, the New York Times reported this month.
Both Israel and Washington have yet to comment on the attack.
On Friday, Trump retweeted an Israeli journalist, Yossi Melman, who called the killing “a major psychological and professional blow for Iran.”
Brennan is a staunch Trump critic, who told Business Insider before the 2020 election that the “dishonesty” and disinformation coming out of the Trump administration is just as dangerous as foreign interference in the election.
After Trump’s election loss, Brennan tweeted that he now plans “to ignore Trump,” and will “leave his fate to our judicial system, his infamy to history, & his legacy to a trash heap,”The Hill reported.
Brennan’s comments about the reported Fakhrizadeh assassination were described as “bizarre” by Senator Ted Cruz, who tweeted on Friday that the ex-CIA chief “consistently sides with Iranian zealots who chant ‘Death to America.'”
The former CIA director fired back, tweeting that it was “typical” of Cruz to “mischaracterize” his comment.
“Your lawless attitude & simple-minded approach to serious national security matters demonstrate that you are unworthy to represent the good people of Texas,” Brennan wrote.
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