Top Iranian nuclear scientist fatally shot in apparent assassination: Reports

A high-level Iranian nuclear scientist died in an apparent assassination this week, leaving many U.S. officials expressing outrage and dismay.

The news of 59-year-old Mohsen Fakhrizadeh’s death included details of an ambush that left him fatally shot as he traveled by vehicle on Friday, as reported by The New York Times.

“Does not make America, Israel or the world safer”

Both U.S. and Israeli forces have identified Fakhrizadeh as a central force in Iran’s development of an atomic weapon.

As the Times explained, he had been tied to the nation’s nuclear plans for 20 years — including the period after much of the program was scrapped more than a decade ago.

American lawmakers and diplomats — including Democrats who opposed President Donald Trump’s decision to exit an existing nuclear agreement with Iran — sounded off on the news of Fakhrizadeh’s death.

“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,” tweeted U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT).

Former CIA Director John Brennan similarly expressed outrage, tweeting that the assassination was “highly reckless” and amounted to a “criminal act.”

“Consistently side with Iranian zealots”

Brennan, who helmed the CIA under former President Barack Obama, went on to suggest that the Iranian regime “would be wise to wait for the return of responsible American leadership” and should “resist the urge to respond against perceived culprits.”

He went on to express uncertainty regarding “whether a foreign government authorized or carried out” the deadly ambush.

“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,” Brennan concluded.

Even left-leaning journalist Yashar Ali took issue with the former CIA director’s words, though, noting that during the Obama administration, four “nuclear scientists were killed and one was nearly killed” but “language like this was never used.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) similarly denounced Brennan’s position, tweeting: “It’s bizarre to see a former head of the CIA consistently side with Iranian zealots who chant ‘Death to America.'”

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