Former CIA Director John Brennan said Monday on CNN’s “Newsroom” said there needed “to be standards of international behavior to exclude assassinations” in response to the Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh’s death.
Anchor Jim Sciutto said, “Iran is a top issue, especially after their top scientist was assassinated. You have called this assassination highly reckless. Iran is blaming Israel, saying it had U.S. backing here. I wonder, first question, why is this reckless in your view?
Brennan said, “Well, I think we’ve seen that Iran is going to feel obliged as it has in the past to carry out a retaliatory strike. Especially in a presidential transition when we have to be sure this administration doesn’t do anything to undermine the next administration’s approach to these very challenging issues. Therefore I believe there needs to be standards of international behavior to exclude assassinations. 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.”
Sciutto said, “Do you believe this is a deliberate attempt by the Trump administration to tie the Biden administration’s hands, for instance, on the possibility of reentering the Iran nuclear deal?”
Brennan said, “I don’t know who was responsible for this assassination. But again, 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, I am not aware. But this is something that should be condemned by the international community. If the Iranians carried out an attack like this against an Israeli scientist inside of Israel, there would be condemnation. So I think this goes way beyond what can be and should be expected of countries in this day and age.”
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