Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) on Monday appeared to compare the killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani to Russian president Vladimir Putin's assassinations of dissidents.
"But this guy was, as bad as he was, an official of the Iranian government," Sanders told CNN anchor Anderson Cooper. "Then if China does that, you know, if Russia does that—Russia has been implicated, under Putin, with assassinating dissidents. So once you're in the business of assassination, you unleash some very, very terrible forces."
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"If Soleimani was a nonstate actor, not a general, an official, a high-ranking official in the Iranian government, would it be different in your mind?" Cooper asked.
Sanders said he is not a lawyer and called for Congress to take action to prevent President Donald Trump from going to war with Iran. He added the authorization for the use of military force was needed and that Trump doesn't have the right to go to war without the approval of Congress.
The Sanders campaign did not respond to a request for comment on the senator's statement.
Soleimani led the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps which trained, funded, and armed Iran-sympathetic terrorist groups in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and around the Middle East, killing thousands, including hundreds of Americans.
Sanders's campaign previously described the killing of Soleimani as a "dangerous escalation" that will push the United States down the path to an "endless" war.