A SENIOR Iranian judiciary official says Iran and Iraq have issued a joint statement on an investigation into the ‘criminal and terrorist’ assassination by the United States of top anti-terror commanders from the two countries in Baghdad early last year.
Kazem Gharibabadi, the judiciary chief’s deputy for international affairs and secretary of Iran’s High Council for Human Rights, said on Thursday that the statement was issued during the second session of a joint Iran-Iraq committee investigating the murder of Lt. Gen. Qassem Soleimani and Mahdi al-Muhandis.
General Soleimani, the then commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), and his Iraqi counterpart Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy head of Iraq’s Popular Mobilisation Units (PMU), were assassinated along with their companions in a US drone strike authorised by then-US President Donald Trump near Baghdad International Airport on January 3rd, 2020.
Both commanders were admired by Muslim nations for eliminating the US-sponsored Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in the region, particularly in Iraq and Syria.
In the statement, Gharibabadi said that Iran and Iraq stressed that the assassinations were a ‘violation of the rules of international law, including relevant international conventions on the fight against terrorism.
‘In addition, the two countries reaffirm their serious and firm determination to identify, prosecute and punish all those involved in deciding, planning and implementing this criminal act,’ he emphasised.
He also noted that Iran and Iraq have exchanged documents and reports about the case.
‘Documents and information related to the role and interference of the American defendants were presented by the Iranian delegation to the Iraqi side, and it was decided that complementary investigations would be carried out by the judiciaries of the two countries in this regard,’ the senior Iranian human rights official said.
He added that Iran and Iraq also agreed to continue the exchange of documents and information in the investigation process.
‘In the joint statement, the two sides also emphasised that they would use legal and judicial capacities at national and international levels to deliver justice and prevent the occurrence of such criminal acts,’ Gharibabadi pointed out.
They also agreed to continue bilateral cooperation to gather information about all defendants and ways to hold them accountable.
The third round of the joint committee will be held in Baghdad within the next 45 days.
Meanwhile, the former head of the Israeli military intelligence has openly admitted the regime played a role in the 2020 assassination of top Iranian anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani.
In an interview with the Malam magazine, published by the Israeli Intelligence Heritage and Commemoration Centre, former head of the Israeli military intelligence Major General Tamir Hayman confirmed the Tel Aviv regime was involved in Soleimani’s assassination.
- The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC)’s chief says the Ground Force under his watch put on display a combination of the ‘major elements of its power’ during the latest manoeuvres, which featured kamikaze and reconnaissance drones as new components of the Force’s offensive capabilities.
Major General Hossein Salami made the remarks last Thursday on the sidelines of the IRGC’s Great Prophet 17 joint military exercises in Iran’s southern coast.
He praised the IRGC’s Ground Force as a guarantor of the country’s independence, territorial integrity and national security, saying it has developed new tactics to further its offensive power using all the capabilities it has acquired in fixed and mobile defences on the ground.
‘What was demonstrated today in the drills was a combination of key elements of the IRGC Ground Force’s offensive power, including strong defence in fixed positions and anti-heliborne operations, as well as the use of offensive drones, bounding mines and armoured firepower’ he added.
‘The new points about this exercise comprise the effective use of offensive kamikaze and reconnaissance drones that are new components of our Ground Force’s offensive power, the effective use of offensive power by helicopters, the firing of missiles and rockets at long distances from choppers, the effective use of bounding mines against the enemy’s mobile targets, and the accurate firepower of artillery units.’
Salami also said that modern and systematic command, control and management was the key feature of the war-games that created balanced coordination on the ground.
Precision-strike combat drones and ballistic missiles have struck and destroyed fixed and mobile targets of the hypothetical enemy on the second day of the large-scale Great Prophet 17 joint drill.
The five-day drills kicked off last Monday, covering the coastlines of the southern Iranian provinces of Hormozgan, Bushehr, and Khuzestan.
The ground phase of the exercises ended early on Thursday with a large-scale night combat operation using combined tactics of ranger, armoured, artillery, drone and combat helicopter units.
On Wednesday, Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour, the IRGC Ground Force commander, said the elite force has changed its tactical doctrine ‘in proportion to operational scenes and threats, capacity and flexibility.
‘We have acquired and indigenised the technology of production and reproduction of drones, and our offensive and combat UAVs can target any point that is needed,’ he added.
- Hundreds of Yemenis have taken to the streets in the northern city of Sa’ada to voice their anger against Saudi Arabia’s ongoing military aggression against their country and to honour those killed in the seven-years-long war.
The mass rally, dubbed ‘Loyalty to the Blood of Martyrs’ was held last Thursday, with demonstrators chanting slogans against Riyadh and demanding justice for the victims of the Saudi-led military campaign, as they marched in the city.
The protesters also condemned the United States and some other Western and regional countries for supporting Saudi Arabia in the war on Yemen.
According to international press correspondents in the capital Sana’a, the Yemeni protesters are sending a message to the world that the blood of those killed in the war won’t go to waste and that they will always remember the sacrifices of those who defended their land against the Saudi-led invaders.
The Yemenis also say they will continue to fight the aggressors until their last breath.
The latest development comes as Saudi Arabia has recently stepped up its airstrikes, killing more Yemenis and causing more destruction.
Earlier in the day, Saudi warplanes carried out fresh airstrikes on Sana’a, bombarding the capital’s Sabeen residential area at least three times in as many minutes.
Yemeni citizens’ homes were damaged in the Saudi air raids, contrary to the coalition’s claim it had targeted a military camp, according to a report by Yemen’s al-Masirah TV channel.
On Monday, the Saudi-led coalition also targeted Sana’a airport, which remains a lifeline for Yemenis.
Saudi Arabia launched the devastating military aggression against its southern neighbour in March 2015 in collaboration with a number of its allied states and with arms and logistics support from the United States and several other Western states.
The aim was to return the former Riyadh-backed regime to power and crush the popular Ansarullah movement which has been running state affairs in the absence of an effective government in Yemen.
The war, accompanied by a tight siege, has failed to reach its goals, but it has killed hundreds of thousands of Yemeni people and turned the whole of Yemen into the scene of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
Report says Saudi-led airstrikes are preventing delivery of United Nations-provided relief supplies to Yemen’s lifeline airport.
The UN says more than 24 million Yemenis are in dire need of humanitarian aid, including 10 million suffering from extreme levels of hunger.
The Saudi war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories.
Despite heavily-armed Saudi Arabia’s incessant bombardment of the impoverished country, the Yemeni armed forces and the Popular Committees have grown steadily in strength against the Saudi-led invaders and left Riyadh and its allies bogged down in the country.