Criticism of the killing of a senior Iranian military researcher voiced by the ex-head of the CIA seems misplaced considering that his chief Barack Obama ordered targeted assassinations himself, a former Mossad head believes.

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was gunned down last week in what many, including top Iranian officials, believe to be a clandestine Israeli operation. RT’s Going Underground spoke to Efraim Halevy, the former head of Israeli secret service Mossad, to discuss the high-profile assassination, criticism of the move coming from some senior intelligence figures in the US, and what possible goals may have been behind it.

John Brennan, the head of the CIA under Barack Obama, reacted to the killing with remarkably harsh words calling it a “criminal act,” “highly reckless” and possibly an “act of state-sponsored terrorism” that would be “a flagrant violation of international law.”

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The characterization does not seem genuine coming from Brennan, Halevy said, considering that “American organizations and agencies in the past have carried out similar acts when they believed that an individual was endangering the national security of their country.”

I think that name-calling is not a very good idea in this kind of activity.

Brennan was the one official in the Obama administration to formally acknowledge for the first time that the CIA was running the highly controversial program of targeted drone assassinations. He insists that killing “terrorist leaders & operatives” is fundamentally different to what happened to Fakhrizadeh.

Halevy pointed out that Fakhrizadeh was not merely a scientist but also a high-ranking officer in the IRGC, Iran’s powerful military wing. He refused to assess whether targeting him was legitimate or not, saying such judgements don’t belong to retired officials. He also noted that as a political tool such killings were very limited.

“Targeted assassinations have the value of the moment and they are important as such,” he said. “But if you are looking for a strategic change as a result of such an operation you will not find it.”

RT also spoke about the situation with Sam Medhi Torabi, director of the Risalat Strategic Studies Institute in Iran, who said if Israel expected Iran to lash out after Fakhrizadeh’s murder and subject itself to retaliation, people in charge there don’t really know Iran.

The assassination “is not going to take Iran away from its strategic goal,” he said.

“Iran’s strategic goal is to drive out, expel the Americans from West Asia. It’s going to happen, the only issue is how it is going to happen,” he assured.

Watch the episode to learn more.

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