Former Central Intelligence Agency director John Brennan 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 slim, but local outlets have reported that Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was killed after a truck full of explosives hidden by a pile of wood pulled along by the scientist’s sedan before detonating in the town of Absard, just east of Tehran.
“This was a criminal act and very ruthless,” Brennan wrote on Twitter Friday afternoon. “It risks deadly retaliation and a new regional conflict.”
Iran’s foreign minister said the attack on Fakhrizadeh had “serious indications” that Israel was involved in the assassination, but did not provide further details – although international consequences are expected.
Fakhrizadeh’s assassination comes less than a year after General Qassem Soleimani was targeted by the US military in a drone strike, killing one of Iran’s officials and pushing US-Iran relations to the brink after Iran promised retaliation.
“Iranian leaders would be wise to wait for the return of responsible American leadership on the global stage and to resist the urge to respond to perceived sins,” Brennan wrote, urging Iranian officials to address the issue diplomatically when electing the president. Joe Biden’s administration takes over the White House.
Trump has not yet publicly commented on the attack, but retweeted a message from Israeli journalist Yossi Melman, saying the killing of the Iranian nuclear scientist was “a major psychological and professional blow to Iran.”
No one has yet claimed responsibility for Fakhruzadeh’s death at the hospital, but Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said it was an act of “state terror”.
“Terrorists murdered a prominent Iranian scientist today. This cowardice – with serious indications of the Israeli role – shows desperate violence from perpetrators, “Zarif said on twitter.
“Iran calls on the whole of society – and especially the EU – to end their shameful double standards and condemn this act of state terror.”
Fakhruzadeh allegedly led Iran’s nuclear program AMAD, which was due to end in 2003, although Israel and other Western nations suspected its resurgence.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
Iran has long maintained its nuclear program strictly for civilian services such as generating electricity.
Iran and its nuclear sites are monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency, but under the Trump administration, the United States has maintained a continuing suspicion that Iran continued to develop its nuclear capabilities.
The Associated Press contributed to this piece.