FM Zarif: Iran to Sue Trump for Cowardly Assassination of Gen. Soleimani
TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif lashed out at US President Donald Trump for ordering the “cowardly assassination” of the anti-terrorism hero of the Middle East, Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, adding that Tehran will take legal action against Trump.
In an interview with Lebanese al-Mayadeen news network, whose text was published on Thursday, Zarif said the assassination of Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani on direct order of Trump on January 3 was an act of state terrorism.
Describing Gen. Soleimani’s assassination as a cowardly act by the United States, Iran's top diplomat 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.”
“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.
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.
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.”
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.
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 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.”
“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.”
Defying international outcry, Trump last week announced the general provisions of the plan at the White House with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his side.
The scheme — which all Palestinian groups have unanimously rejected — largely meets Israel’s demands in the decades-old conflict, while creating a Palestinian state with limited control over its own security and borders.
It enshrines Jerusalem al-Quds as “Israel’s undivided capital” and allows the regime to annex settlements in the occupied West Bank and the Jordan Valley, among other controversial terms.
Palestinian leaders, who severed all ties with Washington in late 2017 after Trump recognized Jerusalem al-Quds as the capital of the Israeli regime, immediately rejected the plan, with President Mahmoud Abbas saying it “belongs to the dustbin of history.”
Thousands of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and besieged Gaza Strip poured out onto the street in immediate condemnation of the plan.
Muslims all across the world have also expressed solidarity with the Palestinian cause and denounced the Trump's proposed plan.