IranMiddle EastNorth AmericaQasem Suleimani

US either ignoring facts or blindsided by Daesh’s fall: Iran

Iran’s Foreign Ministry says the United States is either deliberately turning a blind eye to the reality of Iran fighting terrorism in the region or has been caught off-guard and worried by the territorial collapse of the Daesh terrorist group in the Middle East.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi made the remarks in a Thursday statement in reaction to recent remarks by US Vice President Mike Pence, who accused Iran of destabilizing the Middle East.

“The endless repetition of the anti-Iran allegations by US officials indicates that they have either deliberately closed their eyes to the reality of Daesh’s major defeat in Iraq and Syria or are painfully blindsided and worried by the loss of the territory… [Daesh] controlled… in Iraq and Syria,” Qassemi said.

On Tuesday, Pence had said that the administration of US President Donald Trump would not tolerate what he called Tehran’s support for terrorism.

Qassemi pointed to Iran’s support for Iraq and Syria in their fights against the Daesh terrorist group and said no one could overlook Iran’s “positive and constructive role in fighting the scourge of terrorism in the region and the world.”

“For five years, we have been standing responsibly by the governments and nations of Iraq and Syria with an objective to help regional stability and security so that today we can stand witness to the termination of the self-proclaimed rule of the Daesh terrorist group in these two countries,” he said.

Since militancy began in Iraq and Syria, including by Daesh, Iran has been offering advisory military help to the two countries in their fight to contain terrorism and push back Daesh.

US Vice-President Mike Pence speaks at an event at the Permanent Mission of Israel to the United Nations, at Queens Museum in New York, November 28, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

On November 17, Iraqi armed forces liberated the town of Rawa — the last remaining town under Daesh’s control in Iraq near the Syrian border — and raised the Iraqi flag over its buildings.

Two days later, Syrian army soldiers, backed by allied forces, fully liberated al-Bukamal, Daesh’s last stronghold in Syria, which is a strategic city in the country’s eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr on the border with Iraq.

Major General Qassem Soleimani, who commands the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), traveled to Syria to personally oversee the Bukamal liberation operation.

The recapture of the two towns marked an end to Daesh’s territorial rule, which had started in 2014, with the group making territorial gains in swift offensives and establishing a self-proclaimed “caliphate” straddling Iraq and Syria.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman stressed that Iran considered dialog and cooperation among regional countries as “the only option” that could ensure regional security and stability.

Extra-regional countries, Qassemi said, had to abandon their divisive policies in the Middle East if they were incapable of assuming a constructive and effective role in ending regional woes.

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