Sanders slams Fakhrizadeh assassination as reckless, provocative

November 29, 2020 - 17:31

TEHRAN — U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders has condemned the assassination of Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh as a “reckless, provocative, and illegal” act intended to undermine diplomacy between Tehran and Washington.

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

He added: “As a new administration takes power, it was clearly intended to undermine U.S.-Iran diplomacy. We must not allow that to happen. Diplomacy, not murder, is the best path forward.”

Fakhrizadeh, a senior nuclear and defense scientist, was assassinated by unknown gunmen in a small city northeast of Tehran on Friday evening. After sustaining injuries from a car explosion and bullets, he was taken to the hospital with a helicopter, but died a few hours later.

Iran has suggested that Israel was involved in the assassination, partly due to a speech Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made two years ago.

In a presentation in April 2018, Netanyahu repeated baseless claims about the Iranian nuclear program and called Fakhrizadeh as the captain of Iran’s nuclear program. “Remember that name,” he said.

Other American figures also reacted to the assassination. 

Chris Murphy, a senator from Connecticut, said on Friday that every time “America or an ally assassinates a foreign leader outside a declaration of war, we normalize the tactic as a tool of statecraft. The risk is that the security benefit can be very short-lived.”  Chris Murphy, a senator from Connecticut, said on Friday that every time “America or an ally assassinates a foreign leader outside a declaration of war, we normalize the tactic as a tool of statecraft. The risk is that the security benefit can be very short-lived.”

“If the primary purpose of the killing of Mr. Fakhrizadeh was to make it harder to restart the Iran nuclear agreement, then this assassination does not make America, Israel or the world safer,” he added.

Former CIA director John Brennan described the assassination as a “criminal act” and “highly reckless”, saying it risks lethal retaliation and 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,” Brennan wrote in a tweet on Friday.

“I do not know whether a foreign government authorized or carried out the murder of Fakhrizadeh,” he 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.”

He added, “These assassinations are far different than strikes against terrorist leaders & operatives of groups like al-Qaida & Islamic State, which are not sovereign states. As illegitimate combatants under international law, they can be targeted in order to stop deadly terrorist attacks.”

Israel has embraced a strategy of targeted assassinations against Iranian nuclear scientists in attempting to slow down Iran’s nuclear program, which Tel Aviv claims is intended to develop nuclear weapons.

Iran has strongly rejected the accusation. It also signed a nuclear agreement with six world powers to ensure the world of the peaceful nature of its nuclear energy program.

However, the world’s mainstream media outlets repeatedly use the words “Iran’s nuclear weapons program” when covering the country’s nuclear activities.

While Iran has no nuclear weapons program, let alone nuclear bombs, Israel has an active nuclear weapons program and a stockpile of nuclear bombs.

Iran is also a member of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and its nuclear program is the most rigorously monitored in the world, while Israel has never signed the NPT and refuses to do so, and also its nuclear weapons program is not regulated at all.

MH/PA

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