IRAN’s Foreign Ministry has strongly condemned the assassination in January of top anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike in Iraq, stating that the United States made a grave mistake by making such a coward move.
‘By cowardly assassinating Gen. Soleimani, US committed a grave mistake,’ the ministry said in a post published on its official Twitter page on Tuesday, as the anniversary of the crime draws near.
It added that Iraq’s parliament resolution calling on the government to end the deployment of all foreign military troops on the Arab country’s soil ‘is the beginning of the end of the malign presence in our region.’
‘Our region has suffered long enough from the interventions of the outlaw regime in the US,’ the statement said.
‘The Iraqi Judiciary has entered an advanced stage in the investigation of this incident and intends to end it definitively.’
Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), and his Iraqi trenchmate Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy head of the Popular Mobilisation Units, were assassinated along with their companions in a US terror drone strike authorised by President Donald Trump near Baghdad International Airport on January 3, 2020.
Iraqi lawmakers approved a bill two days later, demanding the withdrawal of all foreign military forces led by the United States from the country.
Both commanders are admired by Muslim nations for eliminating the US-sponsored Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in the region, particularly in Iraq and Syria.
The US assassination drew a wave of condemnation from officials and movements throughout the world, and triggered huge public protests across the region.
A senior UN human rights investigator says the United States’ assassination of top Iranian commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad was an ‘unlawful’ killing in violation of international law.
Vowing harsh revenge, the IRGC, on January 8, targeted the US-run Ain al-Assad air base in Iraq’s western province of Anbar.
According to the US Defence Department, more than 100 American forces suffered ‘traumatic brain injuries’ during the counterstrike on the base. The IRGC, however, says Washington uses the term to mask the number of the Americans who perished during the retaliation.
Iran has described the missile attack on Ain al-Assad air base as a ‘first slap.’
Head of the Iranian Judiciary’s High Council for Human Rights Ali Baqeri-Kani announced on Monday that the country has identified and is prosecuting 48 individuals for masterminding and conducting Lt. Gen. Soleimani’s assassination.
- Iran’s Minister of Energy Reza Ardakanian visited Iraq Tuesday at the head of a delegation to discuss ‘the capacities and ways to develop economic and trade cooperation between Tehran and Baghdad,’ the Ministry of Energy in Tehran said in a statement.
He discussed with Iraqi officials the preparations for the Joint Commission on Economic Cooperation meeting between the two countries, which will be hosted by Iran this month, the statement said.
‘In the coming weeks, Tehran will host a meeting of the Iran-Iraq Joint High Commission for Economic and Trade Cooperation after a six-year hiatus,’ he told reporters in Baghdad after meeting his Iraqi counterpart Alaa Ahmed al-Jubouri.
‘A delegation from the Iraqi government will attend the summit and hold constructive consultations with the Iranian government and private sector to further develop bilateral relations,’ he added.
Jubouri said the purpose of the Baghdad meeting was to lay the groundwork for holding the next meeting of their joint commission in Tehran as successfully as possible, which will be attended by a high-ranking delegation from the Iraqi government.
On Saturday, Minister of Cooperatives, Labour and Social Welfare Mohammad Shariatmadari said a five-year roadmap for joint cooperation between Iran and Iraq has been prepared, hoping joint issues between the two countries would be finalised at the meeting.
The current month has been marked by a series of back and forth measures as the two neighbours which are also preparing to mark the first anniversary of the US assassination of Iran’s legendary anti-terror commander General Qassem Soleimani and his Iraqi trenchmate Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.
- Iran is commemorating the 11th anniversary of mass rallies on December 30, 2009 that put an end to post-election unrest back then and renewed the nation’s allegiance to the Islamic establishment.
The occasion is also known as the Dey 9 epic, which refers to the huge demonstrations held in the capital Tehran and other cities on the ninth day of the Persian calendar month of Dey in support of the Islamic Republic.
The million-strong rallies restored tranquillity to the country after months of political wrangling and foreign-backed riots, and ended what the Iranian authorities described as sedition ensuing the presidential election in June 2009.
During the riots, a group of demonstrators offended the sanctities of the Iranian people on the day of Ashura, which marks the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein, the third Shia Imam and grandson of Prophet Muhammad.
The unrest was orchestrated by Mehdi Karroubi and Mir Hossein Musavi, two of the candidates who had lost the election, claiming that the results had been rigged. Both remain under house arrest on charges of provoking the public and harming the national security.
Each year, Iranians mark the occasion with rallies, but no such events were scheduled for this year due to the coronavirus outbreak.
In a message issued on Tuesday, Iran’s Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi congratulated Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and the Iranian people on the occasion.
On the Dey 9 epic, he said, the Iranian nation neutralised the enemies’ conspiracies thanks to its “exemplary insight” and dashed the ill-wishers’ hopes.
Iran, he said, is commemorating this historic day as the anniversary of the cowardly assassination of Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani and his zealous companions by the blood-thirsty US terrorist regime draws near and weeks after the martyrdom of [senior nuclear scientist] Mohsen Fakhrizadeh by the fake Israeli regime.
Alavi also assured the nation that Iranian intelligence forces will spare no efforts to perform their tasks aimed at preserving and protecting lasting peace in the Islamic Republic.
Additionally, the Iranian Army released a statement on Tuesday, saying the occasion uprooted sedition fuelled by internal and external elements and brought disgrace and defeat to the sworn enemies of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
‘The cunning enemy has over the past three decades tested all ways against the great Iranian nation, including coups, imposed wars and cowardly assassinations, etc.
‘In 2009, it wanted to transform the (Islamic) establishment and Revolution under the mask of seeking democracy, protecting the popular vote (by) launching a soft revolution.
‘This is while the Western powers have always supported the most dictatorial countries in the region and have on their hands the blood of innocent people seeking democracy and fighting against tyranny,’ the statement read.
The people’s huge and spontaneous rallies on the Dey 9 epic can be considered ‘a vaccine that insured the Islamic Revolution in the face of domestic and foreign seditionist and rioters,’ it added.