Former CIA Director John Brennan continued to express his opposition to the killing of Iran's top nuclear scientist during his interview with CNN on Monday, saying it violated "standards of international behavior."
Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was shot and killed along with his bodyguards as they traveled in Absard, roughly 40 miles east of Tehran. According to U.S. and Israeli officials, he was the "driving force behind…Iran’s secretive nuclear weapons program," according to the New York Times.
Brennan tweeted on Friday the killing was a "criminal act & highly reckless. It risks lethal retaliation & a new round of regional conflict."
This was a criminal act & highly reckless. It risks lethal retaliation & a new round of regional conflict.— John O. Brennan (@JohnBrennan) November 27, 2020
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
"Iran is blaming Israel saying it had U.S. backing here. I wonder, first question, do you — why is this reckless in your view?" CNN reporter Jim Sciutto asked.
"Well, I think we have seen that Iran is going to feel obliged as it has in the past to carry out some type of a retaliatory strike. And especially during a period of presidential transition when we have to be sure that this administration doesn’t do anything to undermine the next administration’s approach to these very, very challenging issues," Brennan said. "And so, therefore I believe that there needs to be standards of international behavior to exclude assassinations. And so I believe it’s reckless because, again, it can provoke an Iranian response that could escalate then into not just heightened regional tension but also possible confrontation."
Brennan said he does not know who exactly is behind the killings, but "I do believe that this is something that western democracies, as well as countries around the globe, should not engage in an assassination. So whether or not the Trump administration was aware of it in advance or provided some type of support — again, I am not aware — but this is something that should be I think condemned roundly by the international community."