0948 GMT October 07, 2022
The U.S. assassination of Lieutenant General Soleimani and his companions is “a true example of a terrorist attack and state terrorism” which was committed in an organized way by the U.S. government, and was planned and conducted on a direct order from the country’s former president Donald Trump, Saeed Khatibzadeh said, Press TV reported.
He made the remarks at a weekly press conference on Monday, days before the second anniversary of Lieutenant General Soleimani’s martyrdom.
Khatibzadeh also said the assassination of the prominent anti-terror commander proves the double standards and the untruthfulness of those claiming to be combating terrorism.
He also emphasized that the Islamic Republic “will not spare any effort to bring the perpetrators, commanders, and advisers of this terrorist act to justice”.
The spokesman noted that the incident was not only a violation of human rights and international law, but also “an act of aggression against the sovereignty” of an independent country, namely Iraq.
Lieutenant General Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), and his Iraqi trenchmate Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s PMU, were martyred along with their companions in a U.S. drone strike authorized by Trump near Baghdad International Airport on January 3, 2020.
Both commanders were highly popular because of their key role in fighting the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in the region, particularly in Iraq and Syria.
“Lieutenant General Soleimani was a hero of fighting terrorism,” Khatibzadeh said, adding that the U.S. assassination was aimed at “taking revenge on this great general” for his key role in the fight against terrorism.
Back in January 2020, two days after the assassination, the Iraqi parliament passed a law requiring the country’s government to end the presence of the U.S.-led foreign forces in the Arab country.
Since the assassination, Iraqi resistance forces have ramped up pressure on the U.S. troops to leave their country.
Earlier this year, Baghdad and Washington reached an agreement on ending the presence of all U.S. combat troops in Iraq by the end of the year.
The U.S. military declared the end of its combat mission in Iraq this month, but resistance forces remain bent on expelling all American forces, including those who have stayed in the country on the pretext of training Iraqi forces or playing an advisory role.
Proper action urged
In addition, a lawmaker from a major Iraqi political coalition said the country’s people will not remain silent in the face of the assassination of Lieutenant General Soleimani and Muhandis, calling on the Baghdad government to take proper actions.
“The government’s weak position explains the reason behind the silence in the face of American crimes against the two great martyrs Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and Qassem Soleimani. The Iraqi nation will not forget this crime despite the government’s inaction,” Mukhtar al-Mousawi, a member of the Fatah Alliance in the parliament, said.
Izadi politician Saeed Batush also stated that the two fallen anti-terror commanders greatly contributed to the liberation of Iraqi territories from the grip of the Daesh Takfiri terrorists.
“Izadis are grateful to the late commanders, who sacrificed their lives in order to liberate [the northern Iraqi town of] Sinjar from the menace of Daesh,” he said.
“On the second martyrdom anniversary of the commanders, it is worth mentioning that the investigation into their assassinations must be transparent and the results must be accurate in order to bring the main culprits to account and punish them,” Batush pointed out.
Mass participation call
Separately, Hadi al-Amiri, the leader of the Badr Organization, which is part of the PMU, or Hashd al-Sha'abi, and secretary general of the Fatah Alliance, called for mass demonstrations across Iraq on the second anniversary of the assassination.
“We owe a debt of gratitude to these martyred figures. We must, therefore, participate en masse in ceremonies that will be held in their commemoration,” Amiri said.
Warning to Americans
Moreover, secretary general of Iraq’s anti-terror Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq group said resistance fighters will have the right to target American forces in case they prolong their presence and do not pull out of Iraqi soil according to the set deadline.
“If American forces do not withdraw according to the declared schedule, resistance fighters will rightfully give an appropriate response. It rests with the Iraqi Resistance Coordination Committee to decide when to respond to the occupiers,” Qais Khazali said.
He denounced the announcement that the United States will keep the current 2,500 troops in Iraq, saying, “Iraqi experts must make a decision on the number of foreign advisers, not Washington.”
Earlier this month, Qassim al-Araji, Iraq’s national security adviser, said that a final round of technical talks to formally end the U.S.-led combat mission, which was purportedly formed to fight the Daesh terrorist group, had concluded.
“We are officially announcing the end of the coalition forces’ combat mission,” Araji wrote on Twitter, adding that the coalition would continue providing assistance, advice, and training to Iraqi forces.
However, chief Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said that the number of US troops in Iraq won’t change.