Sen. Bernie Sanders

Sanders lambasts ‘reckless, illegal’ killing of Iranian scientist

Senior US Senator Bernie Sanders says the assassination of Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was an “illegal” move aimed at undermining possible talks between Iran and the incoming US administration.

“The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was reckless, provocative, and illegal,” Sanders said in a tweet on Saturday.

“As a new administration takes power, it was clearly intended to undermine US-Iran diplomacy,” the top Senator added.

“We must not allow that to happen. Diplomacy, not murder, is the best path forward.”

However, US President Donald Trump’s former hawkish national security advisor John Bolton defended the assassination, and claimed that the “threat” of Iran developing a nuclear weapon fully justifies the “pre-emptive attack”.

Earlier in the day, a senior US official told the Washington Post that the United States had nothing to do with the scientist’s killing and believes Iran has been told that.

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive matter, said there was little doubt Israel was behind the attack.

Former CIA head John Brennan had earlier described the state-sponsored killing of a scientist as a “criminal” act.

The former head of the US Central Intelligence Agency described the assassination as a crime that risked to inflame regional conflict in the Middle East.

“This was a criminal act & highly reckless. It risks lethal retaliation & a new round of regional conflict. 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,” tweeted Brennan, who ran the CIA under President Barack Obama from 2013-2017.

Brennan said he didn’t know whether a foreign government authorized or carried out the assassination of Fakhrizadeh, but said, “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.”