Murphy: Killing Soleimani Equivalent to Iran Assassinating Secretary of Defense

January 3, 2020

Sen. Chris Murphy (D., Conn.) equated the U.S. killing of Iranian general and designated terrorist Qassem Soleimani to Iran assassinating the U.S. secretary of defense on Friday, just days after criticizing Trump for not responding forcefully to Iranian attacks.

"The question moving forward is whether the administration has given any thought as to how to manage the fallout that comes from such a drastic action," Murphy said in Connecticut. "This is the equivalent of the Iranians assassinating the U.S. secretary of defense."

He made similar remarks to Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent.

"It's not clear whether it was defensive in nature or a declaration of war," Murphy said. "If a foreign country assassinated our secretary of defense, we would unquestionably consider that an act of war that demanded a disproportionate response."

Murphy also said Soleimani could be more dangerous to the U.S. as a "martyr," according to Politico's Burgess Everett.

Soleimani, the terrorist military leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and architect of Iran's malign influence across the Middle East, was killed on President Donald Trump's orders Thursday in an airstrike in Baghdad.

His death set off a wave of criticism from Trump's political opponents, who said the president could start a war with Iran. Some of these opponents had criticized Trump's lack of action to counter Iranian violence. On Tuesday, Murphy said Trump had "rendered America impotent in the Middle East" in the aftermath of the Iranian-led attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad.

"No one fears us, no one listens to us," he tweeted. "America has been reduced to huddling in safe rooms, hoping the bad guys will go away. What a disgrace."

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Soleimani's killing was an intelligence-based response to an "imminent attack" the Iranian general was planning. The State Department said the terrorist had been traveling in the Middle East to plan further attacks on U.S. diplomats and service members. The department also said Soleimani was responsible for the rocket attack on an Iraqi military base that killed an American contractor, as well as the assault on the U.S. embassy in Iraq.

Under Soleimani's leadership, the Quds wing of the IRGC trained, funded, and armed proxy terrorist groups in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and around the Middle East, killing hundreds of Americans and thousands of others.