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Gen. Soleimani played major role in saving Christian lives against Daesh terrorists, says Iran FM

Iran’s foreign minister says the Islamic Republic, thanks to the heroic endeavors made by Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, has played a significant role in protecting Iraqi and Syrian Christians against Daesh terrorists.

Hossein Amir-Abdollahian made the comment during a Tuesday meeting in the Vatican with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin and Foreign Minister Paul Richard Gallagher.

Soleimani, Iran’s world-renown anti-terror commander, declared the final victory against Daesh in 2017, three years before he was assassinated in Iraq by the US military.

“In line with its global responsibility in fighting terrorism, the Islamic Republic of Iran has played an important role in protecting the Izadi Christians of Iraq and the Christians of Syria against the criminal Daesh terrorists, thanks to the efforts made by martyr General Qassem Soleimani,” Amir-Abdollahian said.

According to a readout of the meeting by the Iranian Foreign Ministry website, the two sides’ officials underlined the necessity of establishing sustainable security and peace in the world, particularly in West Asia.

In a tweet after the two-hour meeting, Amir-Abdollahian said they agreed that political solutions are needed to resolve global crises, especially in Ukraine and Yemen. He quoted the Vatican officials as saying that the Pope holds the Islamic Republic in considerable respect.

At the meeting, the chief Iranian diplomat also said that Tehran opposes the war in Ukraine to the same extent it opposes wars in other parts of the world.

He said the Islamic Republic is particularly concerned about and strives to prevent the eruption of a crisis in northern Syria.

Amir-Abdollahian also explained Iran’s long-held position on the need to hold a referendum in the occupied Palestinian territories, where the indigenous people of Palestine – whether Muslim, Christian or Jewish – would vote to decide the fate of their land.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the Iranian foreign minister referred to the multilateral negotiations to revive the 2015 Iran deal, saying Iran is seriously pursuing a “good” and “sustainable” agreement to bring the US back into compliance with the deal.

“We have offered important initiatives and flexibility during the negotiations, but it is also necessary for the American side to realistically prepare the conditions for the finalization of the agreement,” he added.

The US withdrew from the Iran deal, or the JCPOA, back in 2018 despite Iran’s full compliance with the accord.

Later on Tuesday, Amir-Abdollahian wrapped up a two-day visit to Italy with the aim of boosting the country’s relations with Rome and the Catholic Church.

He held talks with his Italian counterpart Luigi Di Maio on Monday in pursuit of political, economic, and commercial cooperation.

The two discussed a number of issues including the situation in Afghanistan, Yemen, and Ukraine and the resumption of talks on the revival of the JCPOA.

At the end of the meeting, Iran’s top diplomat stated that there is a promised bright future for the cooperation between Tehran and Rome in the field of energy.

Relations between Tehran and Rome have experienced ups and downs in recent years. Yet, Italy has ranked at the top in Europe in terms of volume of trade with the Islamic Republic.

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