IranMiddle EastNorth AmericaQasem Suleimani

Zarif: Only Trump, Pompeo, Daesh celebrating martyrdom of Gen. Soleimani

Foreign Minister Javad Zarif says the only people celebrating the assassination of Iran’s prominent anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani are US President Donald Trump, his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Daesh Takfiri terror group.

Speaking at a security conference in the Indian capital, New Delhi, on Wednesday, Zarif said people across the globe took to the streets to mourn Soleimani’s martyrdom.

“The United States didn’t like General Soleimani although he was the single most effective force against Daesh. If you don’t believe me see they’re celebrating. Who are celebrating the death of Soleimani?  Not ordinary people. In 430 Indian cities, they mourn his death. Two people are celebrating: President Trump and Pompeo and Daesh,” he said.

Trump ordered the drone strike on General Soleimani’s motorcade upon his arrival in Baghdad on January 3 at the invitation of the Iraqi government. The attack also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), as well as eight other Iranian and Iraqi people.

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“The US accused Soleimani of trying to wage a war against the United States by hitting four of its embassies. Now we know that President Trump authorized the killing seven months ago…and that there was no threat against US embassies,” Zarif said.

“Soleimani went to Iraq not only to deliver a diplomatic message to the prime minister of Iraq but also to calm down the Iraqis who were enraged by the US killing 25 members of Iraqi armed forces for the killing of one US contractor,” he added.

The top Iranian diplomat stressed that the US has never brought about peace and stability to the region, citing the situations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

He also referred to Iran’s missile attack on the American Ain al-Assad air base in Iraq, which came in retaliation for the US targeted killing of General Soleimani.

The US assassination “was an unprovoked attack abusing Iraqi territory against an Iraqi guest inside Iraq,” he said.

“We took action in self-defense under Article 51 of the UN charter against a military attack on our military personnel in a foreign land by targeting the base from which the attack had come,” he added.

Iran ‘had already triggered JCPOA dispute mechanism’

Elsewhere in his remarks, Zarif emphasized that it was Iran that first triggered the dispute mechanism featured in the 2015 nuclear deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

He said, “The mechanism was triggered by Iran on May 10, 2018 in a letter that I wrote to [then EU foreign policy chief] Federica Mogherini and a letter that I wrote to the Secretary General of the United Nations,” days after the US left the deal.

He also described the JCPOA as “one of the best deals that has been made in the recent past” and “one of the few major achievements of multilateral diplomacy.”

On Tuesday, the three European signatories to the deal, Britain, France, and Germany, released a joint statement saying the mechanism was activated in response to what they claimed to be Iran’s repeated violations of the accord.

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EU3 triggers dispute mechanism with Iran in blow to nuclear dealBritain, France, and Germany have formally triggered a dispute settlement mechanism featured in a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

Asked whether the move marked the end of agreement, he replied, “Well, it depends on Europe.”

“So Europe is in violation not of its commitments after the US withdrawal but of its obvious commitments in the JCPOA. What they do not want you to hear is first of all Iran did trigger Paragraph 36 [of the deal]. We are implementing Paragraph 36 right now that is the dispute resolution mechanism,” he said.

He was referring to Iran’s suspension of its commitments under the JCPOA in response to Washington’s withdrawal and Europe’s ensuing failure to circumvent the sanctions the US re-imposed on Iran.

He also criticized the European Union for surrendering to US bullying, saying, “The EU is the largest global economy, so why do you allow the United States to bully you around?”

He emphasized that the existing nuclear deal was not dead.

 “I had a US deal and the US broke it. If I have a Trump deal, how long will it last? Another 10 month? Maybe until his flight from Canada? You remember the G8?” he asked sarcastically, referring to Trump’s retracting of his endorsement of the joint statement of the summit in Canada in June 2019.

“Our economy has suffered without any fault of Iran over the past two years. Hundreds of billions of dollars in damages. Are they going to pay us back?” he asked.

Ukraine plane crash happened in time of crisis

Touching on the accidental downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane near Tehran, Zarif said, “Our military forces were brave enough to claim responsibility early.”

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Iran: Ukrainian plane brought down ‘due to human error’Iran says a Ukrainian plane which crashed outside Tehran this week had flown close to a sensitive military site and been brought down due to human error “at a time of crisis caused by US adventurism.”

“Of course if you look at compatible situations, it was disclosed too early. Because there are incidents where two years, ten years have gone by and nobody has claimed responsibility,” he said.

He lashed out at the United States for creating crises in the region, saying a combination of “ignorance and arrogance” by the US has been fueling mayhem there.

“The United States needs to think again about our region. They’re making a mistake. They’re adding one mistake to another. Now, we had this disaster of the shooting of a civilian airline, accidental shooting, but shooting, nevertheless. 180 families are mourning the loss of very bright young people. We lost a lot of very bright minds. Why did it happen? because there was a crisis.”

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