Obama-era CIA Director John Brennan on Friday lashed out at the killing of the head of Iran’s nuclear program, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, labeling his death a “criminal act.”
Iran announced that Fakhrizadeh was assassinated in Damavand Friday afternoon. Images of the scene show two vehicles, one with extensive fire damage and the other riddled with bullet holes. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif appeared to blame Israel for the nuclear expert’s killing.
“This was a criminal act & highly reckless. It risks lethal retaliation & a new round of regional conflict,” Brennan wrote of Fakhrizadeh’s death. “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.”
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“I do not know whether a foreign government authorized or carried out the the [sic] murder of Fakhrizadeh,” he continued. “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.”
“These assassinations are far different than strikes against terrorist leaders & operatives of groups like al-Qaida & Islamic State, which are not sovereign states. As illegitimate combatants under international law, they can be targeted in order to stop deadly terrorist attacks,” he concluded.