In a telephone conversation with Hulusi Akar, the Turkish National Defense Minister, Hatami added that the assassination of top Iranian commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani was a “cowardly” move by the United States and a real example of state-sponsored terrorism.
“The Americans once again showed their criminal face to the world and proved their terrorist nature to all,” the Iranian defense chief said.
He pointed to US President Donald Trump’s “miscalculation, strategic mistake and savage act” in assassinating the IRGC commander and said martyrdom of Soleimani and his companions would not definitely put an end to resistance but would further strengthen it.
On January 3, the United States assassinated Soleimani, who commanded the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), among others in a set of airstrikes against the Iraqi capital of Baghdad. General Soleimani has earned reputation as West Asia’s most revered anti-terror commander due to his indispensable contribution to defeating terrorist outfits such as Daesh across the region.
The strikes also led to the martyrdom of second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis along with eight other Iranians and Iraqis.
In retaliation, the IRGC fired volleys of ballistic missiles on January 8 at the US’s Ain al-Assad air base in the western Iraqi Anbar Province, and another facility in Erbil, the capital of the semi-autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan, both of which housed American forces.
Hatami further said that Iran attacked the US base by its domestically-manufactured missiles and added that the Americans have realized that if they carry out an act of stupidity once again, they will receive a more severe response.
“We expect all independent countries in the world including regional governments to strongly condemn this terrorist move by the Americans,” the Iranian defense minister pointed out.
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said on Friday that the assassination of the top Iranian commander disgraced the US as it had to own up to the “terrorist” action and see its image dealt a blow by Iran’s retaliation.
Ayatollah Khamenei: US disgraced after assassination of Gen. Soleimani Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says the US assassination of Iran
“The day the missiles of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps crushed the US base is one of the days of God. The Guards’ response was a major blow to America’s fearsome superpower image,” the Leader told a huge crowd in Tehran.
The United States military has said that 11 of its troops were wounded in an Iranian retaliatory missile attack last week despite Washington’s initial claim denying casualties.
US military says 11 US troops wounded in Iranian missile attack despite earlier denialsThe United States military says at least 11 of its troops were wounded in an Iranian missile attack last week.
“While no US service members were killed in the January 8 Iranian attack on al-Asad Air base, several were treated for concussion symptoms from the blasts and are still being assessed,” US Central Command spokesman Captain Bill Urban said in a statement on Thursday.
Turkey seeks sustainable security in region: Akar
The Turkish defense minister, for his part, offered his condolences to the Iranian government and nation over the assassination of general Soleimani.
The creation of tension and instability in the region would not be beneficial to any country, Akar said, adding that Ankara has always called for the establishment of sustainable security.
He also stressed the importance of boosting bilateral cooperation on regional and international developments.
In a phone call with the Turkish defense minister on Thursday, Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri said the Islamic Republic is not interested in the escalation of tensions in the region, but is ready to give a crushing response to any act of aggression.
Military chief: Iran not interested in escalation of tensionsThe chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of Iran
“Iran is not interested in further escalation of tensions, but will give a crushing response to any irrational action and act of aggression, and we hope that withdrawal of the US from the region would put an end to all [the existing] chaos and conflicts,” Major General Baqeri said.