EU condemns assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist, calls for 'calm'

Among the international organizations and countries that have reacted thus far include the EU, Germany, Syria, Turkey and Qatar.

Protesters gather during a demonstration against the killing of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, Iran's top nuclear scientist, in Tehran, Iran, November 28, 2020. (photo credit: MAJID ASGARIPOUR/WANA (WEST ASIA NEWS AGENCY) VIA REUTERS)
Protesters gather during a demonstration against the killing of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, Iran's top nuclear scientist, in Tehran, Iran, November 28, 2020.
(photo credit: MAJID ASGARIPOUR/WANA (WEST ASIA NEWS AGENCY) VIA REUTERS)
The European Union (EU) condemned the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh in an official statement posted on the EU's foreign affairs website Saturday, calling for calm and restraint following Iranian statements that retaliation against the perpetrators, allegedly Israel, is coming.
"The High Representative expresses his condolences to the family members of the individuals who were killed, while wishing a prompt recovery to any other individuals who may have been injured," the statement read. "In these uncertain times, it is more important than ever for all parties to remain calm and exercise maximum restraint in order to avoid escalation, which cannot be in anyone’s interest."
Germany also urged all sides on Saturday to show restraint after the killing of the Iranian nuclear scientist and to avoid escalating tensions that could derail any talks on Iran's nuclear program.
"A few weeks before the new US administration takes office, it is important to preserve the scope for talks with Iran so that the dispute over Iran's nuclear program can be resolved through negotiations," a German Foreign Ministry spokesman said. "We therefore urge all parties to refrain from any steps that could lead to a further escalation of the situation," he said in an emailed statement.
Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad accused Israel and "those who supported it" on Saturday of being behind the killing of Iran's top nuclear scientist, an act he said would only fuel more tensions in the region.
Mekdad was quoted by state media as telling the Iranian envoy in Damascus that Syria was confident Iran would confront what he called the "terrorist act" behind the killing on Friday of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.
Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani condemned the killing in a phone call on Saturday with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, a ministry statement said.
Al Thani extended Qatar's condolences to the government and the people of Iran and called for self-restraint following Friday's killing, which Iran's president has blamed on Israel, the statement said.
Turkey also condemned the "heinous assassination" of Iran's top nuclear scientist, but urged "all sides to act with common sense and restraint."
Former CIA director John Brennan (2013-2017), likewise condemned the assassination of Fakhrizadeh, saying on Twitter that "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.
"I do not know whether a foreign government authorized or carried out the murder of Fakhrizadeh. 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.
Brennan further noted that "These assassinations are far different than strikes against terrorist leaders & operatives of groups like al-Qaeda & Islamic State, which are not sovereign states. As illegitimate combatants under international law, they can be targeted in order to stop deadly terrorist attacks."
Reuters and Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.