Former Central Intelligence Agency director John Brennan, who will be remembered by many as a defender of the use of “enhanced interrogation” practices on al-Qaida* suspects, has recently grabbed worldwide attention after slamming the November killing of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh as “a criminal act.”
The ex-CIA director under the Barack Obama administration, John Brennan, said during the interview with Israel’s Haaretz that late Iranian Top General Qasem Soleimani was his personal “nemesis” during his work for the agency.
Brennan, however, slammed the assassination of the senior general, who was murdered in a Trump-authorised drone strike in Iraq in January this year. According to the former Obama staffer, the killing of “a senior Iranian government official” was a “very arbitrary and dangerous” act which came “without any type of international, lawful basis, without being at war with Iran and without a Security Council decision.”
“I’ve said, and I was criticised for it, that I was not supportive at all of the US strike against Soleimani. I do not disagree that Soleimani had blood on his hands: He was responsible for supporting terrorist groups, as well as for actions they carried out,” Brennan explained.
“He was a very dangerous actor, but again, for the United States to kill a senior official of a foreign country is not in keeping with its commitments to the international system.”
Former CIA chief has expressed remorse for the fact that Soleimani’s assassination was applauded in the United States “on both sides of the political aisle”, ignoring the fact that Trump administration had basically violated the international standards and norms with the move.
Speaking to the newspaper via Skype, Brennan argued that he “wouldn’t be surprised” to find out that Israel “encouraged or even provided some support for the operation.”
Killing of Iran’s Nuclear Scientist Fakhrizadeh
Brennan’s interview was conducted shortly before another high-profile assassination of an Iranian senior official, nuclear physicist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, near Tehran late last month.
On 27 November, Fakhrizadeh, who was dubbed by Israel as “head of Iran’s nuclear weapons programme”, was fatally wounded in a gun and bomb attack in a road ambush near Absard town and later died in hospital. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Iranian leadership has wholeheartedly blamed the scientist’s death on Israel.
Shortly after the assault, John Brennan took to Twitter to criticize the killing as a “criminal” and “highly reckless” act that would endanger the region’s stability.
“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,” he wrote on 27 November.
His comments prompted a strong response from Republican Senator for Texas, Ted Cruz, who accused the Obama-era official of siding with “Iranian zealots”. Brennan replied by suggesting instead that Cruz’s approach to the national security matters was “lawless” and “simple-minded”.