Former Central Intelligence Agency director John Brennan has condemned the killing of an Iranian scientist believed to be linked to Tehran’s nuclear program on Friday, calling it “criminal” and “extremely reckless.”
Details of the attack remain thin, but local shops say Mohsen Fahrizade was killed after a truck full of explosives was hidden by a pile of tow pulled to the scientist’s sedan before exploding in the city of Absar, just east of Tehran. .
“It was a criminal act and extremely reckless,” Brennan wrote on Twitter on Friday afternoon. “It risks deadly revenge and a new round of regional conflict.”
The Iranian foreign minister said the attack on Fahrizade had “serious indications” that Israel was involved in the killing, but did not provide further details – although it is expected to have international consequences.
Fahrizade’s assassination comes less than a year after General Qassem Soleimani was targeted by the U.S. military in a drone strike, killing one of Iran’s top officials and pushing U.S.-Iran relations to the brink after Iran vowed revenge.
“Iranian leaders would be wise to await the return of responsible US leadership to the world stage and oppose the desire to react against alleged perpetrators,” Brennan wrote, urging Iranian authorities to address the issue diplomatically after the administration of President-elect Joe Biden. decide on the White House.
Trump has not yet commented publicly on the attack, but has retrieved a statement from Israeli journalist Yossi Melman that the killing of the Iranian nuclear scientist was “a major psychological and professional blow to Iran.”
No one has yet claimed responsibility for Fahruzadeh’s death at the hospital, but Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said it was an act of “state terror”.
“Terrorists killed a prominent Iranian scientist today. “This cowardice – with strong indications of an Israeli role – shows desperate incitement against the perpetrators,” Zarif said on Twitter.
“Iran is calling on the international community – and especially the EU – to end its shameful double standards and condemn this act of state terror.”
Fahruzadeh is said to be leading Iran’s AMAD nuclear program, which was due to end in 2003, although Israel and other Western nations suspected a resurgence.
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Iran has long maintained that the nuclear program is strictly for civilian services such as electricity generation.
Iran and its nuclear facilities are monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency, although during the Trump administration, the United States has maintained a constant suspicion that Iran is continuing to develop its nuclear capabilities.
The Associated Press contributed to this piece.