Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says by staging “the cowardly act of state terrorism” that led to senior Iranian commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani’s martyrdom, the United States practically paved the way for its own “elimination” from the region.
Zarif made the remarks in an exclusive television interview on Friday after US helicopters assassinated Suleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), targeting the vehicle they were travelling in, on the Baghdad International Airport road.
‘Beginning of the end for US’
Soleimani was “a soldier of peace as he battled terrorism,” Zarif noted, saying the assassination “wounded the feelings of the people of the region.”
People in Iraq, who know well how the duo served them by contributing to the fight against terrorism, are slated to take to the streets to commemorate their martyrdom, he said. “They will put the reality of the situation in Iraq on display, and will show America that this is the beginning of the end of its presence in Iraq,” he added.
Zarif said Iran reserves the “legal right” to respond to the assassination “in the right place, at the right time, and in the manner that it sees fit.”
The top diplomat said he had talked with the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the phone concerning the atrocity. He also reminded that Agnes Callamard, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions at the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), had said the assassinations were “most likely unlawful and violate international human rights law.”