In an interview with Lebanese al-Mayadeen news network, whose text was published on Thursday, Iran’s top diplomat said the assassination of Lt. Gen. Qassem Soleimani on direct order of Trump on January 3 was an act of state terrorism.
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“Well, Mr. Trump is currently accused of economic terrorism against the Iranian people, and of sponsoring cultural terrorism. He has threatened to hit our cultural sites and is also accused of state terrorism,” Zarif said.
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Iran’s foreign minister added, “The Islamic Republic of Iran will launch legal proceedings against Trump on these three charges. At the present time, Mr. Trump is recognized to have committed these three big sins and these three crimes before the [world’s] public opinion. God willing, we will follow up on this issue with other [international legal] authorities.”
On January 3, the United States assassinated General Soleimani, who used to command the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), among others in a set of airstrikes against Baghdad.
General Soleimani has earned reputation as West Asia’s most revered anti-terror commander due to his indispensible contribution to defeating terrorist outfits such as Daesh across the region. The assassination took place while the commander was on an official visit to Iraq.
Trump tweeted a day later that if the Islamic Republic sought to retaliate for the assassination, the US could strike 52 important targets in Iran, including some sites of cultural importance.
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Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei had, however, warned soon after the assassination that a “harsh revenge” awaited the US. On January 8, the IRGC fired volleys of ballistic missiles in retaliation, hitting the US’s Ain al-Assad air base in the western Iraqi Anbar Province, which housed American forces.
Elsewhere in his interview, Zarif further touched on Gen. Soleimani’s assassination by terrorist US forces, saying, “No person in their right mind would do such a thing. By doing this, Trump put an end to presence of the United States in the region.”
Describing Gen. Soleimani’s assassination as a cowardly act by the United States, Zarif said, “A government, which is not courageous enough to fight a commander [on the battlefield] has to martyr him through a cowardly terrorist operation…. Americans and the Zionist regime always act like this.”
The Iraqi parliament voted overwhelmingly after the US airstrikes that also killed key Iraqi anti-terror commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in favor of the expulsion of all US-led forces from the Arab country’s soil.
US more Zionist than Israel itself
Zarif said both the assassination as well as Trump’s unveiling last Tuesday of the outline of his administration’s so-called initiative for resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict serve to “further reveal the US’s nature in the region.”
The US president said the “deal of the century” features Israel’s annexation of the apartment blocks that it has propped up across the West Bank since occupying the Palestinian territory during a war in 1967. The deal also envisions the recognition of Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s “capital” — although Palestinians want the occupied holy city’s eastern part as the capital of their future state.
All previous foreign-mediated agreements between Palestinians and Israelis as well as repeated United Nations’ resolutions have mandated Tel Aviv to withdraw behind the 1967 borders.
All Palestinian factions have unanimously rejected Trump’s plan. Palestine stopped recognizing the US as a mediator in the Middle East process when Trump, in December 2017, recognized occupied Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s “capital.”
The Iranian foreign minister said by outlining the scheme, “the US showed all the Arab countries of our region that it is not the one, who could be trusted with the intermediary role in the conflict between Arabs and the Zionist regime.”
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“The US is more Zionist than the Zionist regime itself,” Zarif said, adding, “The ‘deal of the century’ proposed by Mr. Trump actually gives the Zionists more concessions than all that they had asked for anytime before.”