Leader of the Islamic Revolution Imam Seyyed Ali Khamenei says Iran will never forget Washington’s assassination in Iraq of Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani and will definitely deliver a “counterblow” to the United States.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran will never forget this issue and will definitely deal the counterblow to the Americans,” Ayatollah Khamenei said in a meeting with visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi in Tehran on Tuesday.
General Soleimani, former commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), was assassinated in a US airstrike at Baghdad airport on January 3, along with Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) counter-terrorism force, and a number of their companions.
The strike came while General Soleimani was on an official visit to the Iraqi capital.
Both commanders were extremely popular because of the key role they played in eliminating the US-sponsored Daesh terrorist group in the region, particularly in Iraq and Syria.
“They killed your guest at your own home and unequivocally admitted the atrocity. This is no small matter,” Ayatollah Khamenei stated.
The Leader considered the assassinations to be one “example of the result of the Americans’ presence [on Iraqi soil].”
Shortly after the atrocity, the Leader warned about a pending “harsh revenge.”
The IRGC fired volleys of ballistic missiles at two US bases in Iraq on January 8. According to the US Defense Department, more than 100 American forces suffered “traumatic brain injuries” during the counterstrikes. The Corps, however, says Washington uses the term to mask the number of the Americans, who perished during the retaliation.
Iran has also issued an arrest warrant and asked Interpol for help in detaining US President Donald Trump, who ordered the assassination, and several other US military and political leaders behind the strike.
Iran expects “the Iraqi friends to know the US [‘s nature] and also the fact that the US’s presence in whatever country is the source of corruption, destruction, and ruin,” Ayatollah Khamenei added, citing the situation governing Yemen — that has been under a Saudi-led and US-backed invasion since 2015 — as another example
Iran also expects follow-up action on a decision made by the Iraqi Parliament after the assassinations for all US-led forces to leave the Arab country “because their presence begets insecurity,” the Leader noted.
The Leader said Tehran has never sought and will never seek to interfere in Baghdad’s internal affairs, adding, “What is of great consequence in bilateral relations for the Islamic Republic is Iraq’s interests, good, security, esteem, regional power, and betterment of its [overall] condition.”
Iran is against whatever that could weaken the Iraqi government, Ayatollah Khamenei noted, cautioning, however, that the United States’ goal concerning the Arab country was “the exact opposite.”
“This is because the US is, in the true sense of the word, the enemy, and is against an independent and strong Iraq that enjoys a government brought to power by majority vote,” the Leader said.
The US does not care who becomes Iraq’s prime minister, the Leader said, adding that what Washington favors for Iraq is an administration similar to that of “Paul Bremer.”
Bremer was assigned to supposedly administer Iraq’s affairs under American tutelage for a year following the US-led invasion of the Arab country in 2003.
‘US incapable of denting Iran-Iraq ties’
Ayatollah Khamenei said Washington was also the leading opponent of development of Iran-Iraq ties. “The US, though, should not be feared at all because it cannot to a damn thing,” the Leader said.
The Leader, meanwhile, congratulated the Iraqis on the consensus that led to formation of Premier al-Kadhimi’s government in Iraq earlier this year, and considered Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, Iraq’s highest religious authority, and the Popular Mobilization Units anti-terror force to be two sources of great advantage for the Arab country.
Kadhimi: Terror fight united Iranians, Iraqis in blood
The Iraqi prime minister, for his part, voiced great delight at the opportunity to meet with the Leader, and expressed gratitude towards the Islamic Republic over its support for his country, especially during the battle against Takfiri terrorists.
“The Iraqi people will never forget Iran’s support. The fact of the matter is that Iraqis and Iranians’ blood was infused together during the war against the Takfiris,” Kadhimi said.
“Your directions and pieces of advice serve as the key for resolution of problems. I express gratitude for these instances of guidance,” the Iraqi official told Ayatollah Khamenei.
Kadhimi, meanwhile, confirmed that the countries’ ties that run deep, go long back in history, and are deeply rooted in religious and cultural commonality, are predicated in the Iranian and Iraqi peoples’ shared love for the Household of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).