Supreme Leader: General Soleimani Symbol of Hope, Courage
TEHRAN (FNA)- Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei said that martyred Iranian anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani is a symbol of hope and courage, adding that his martyrdom paved the ground for foreigners’ expulsion from the region.
“Today, Soleimani is a symbol of hope, self-confidence, courage and the secret of endurance and victory in our region, and as some have rightly said, Martyr Soleimani is more dangerous to his enemies than Commander Soleimani,” Ayatollah Khamenei said in a meeting with General Soleimani’s family in Tehran on Saturday.
His remarks came as Iran began marking the second anniversary of the US assassination of the top general with tens of thousands of people taking part in ceremonies to pay tribute to the highly charismatic commander.
“The enemies thought that with the martyrdom of Soleimani, Abu Mahdi and his other companions, the work would be over, but today, thanks to that dear blood wrongly spilled, the United States has fled Afghanistan,” Ayatollah Kamenei said, referring to the general's Iraqi trenchmate Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.
In Iraq, the Leader said, the Americans “were forced to feign pullout and declare advisory and non-combat role, but our Iraqi brothers must follow this issue with vigilance”.
“In Yemen, the resistance front is advancing; in Syria, the enemy is paralyzed without hope for the future, and in general, the resistance and anti-colonial current in the region is more prosperous, buoyant and hopeful than two years ago”, he added.
Ayatollah Khamenei called General Soleimani an “enduring and everlasting reality”, saying his assassins, like former US president Donald Trump and others like him, will be “among the forgotten of history and will be lost in the dustbin of history - of course, after repaying their crime in this world".
After the terrorist act, Iran pummeled two US military bases in Iraq with a volley of precision missiles, with the Leader calling it “the first slap”.
The Leader on Saturday touched on the participation of tens of millions of people in Iraq, Iran and other countries in the funeral and other processions held for General Soleimani after his assassination.
“This fact shows that Haj Qassem was and is the most national figure, while the growing influence of his memory and name in the Islamic world proves that the beloved Soleimani was and is the most popular figure in the Islamic world,” he said.
General Soleimani, the Leader said, was “the manifestation of tireless and stunning endeavor” and his sincerity in working for God was the source of the abundant effects of his unmatched efforts.
“The dear commander of the Iranian nation endured the suffering of the struggle for the ideals with all his being and was carefully faithful to his duties towards the Iranian nation and the Islamic community throughout his life," Ayatollah Khamenei said.
“The heroic commander of the Iranian nation," he added, "had an admirable level of courage and at the same time rationality in all his endless works and activities."
"With accurate knowledge of the enemy and its possibilities, he would enter the field of combat with strength and tact without the slightest fear and fulfill amazing tasks," Ayatollah Khamenei said.
“He fled from being seen and was not a man of pretense and bluff, and that funeral of tens of millions and the spread of his name and memory in the world was the first reward and divine recompense for his sincerity in the world,” the Leader added.
General Soleimani, his Iraqi trenchmate Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s PMU, and ten of their deputies were martyred by an armed drone strike as their convoy left Baghdad International Airport on January 3, 2020. The attack was ordered by then US President Donald Trump.
To date, Iran’s chief civilian prosecutor has indicted tens of individuals in connection with the assassination, among them former president Trump, the head of US Central Command General Kenneth McKenzie Jr., and former US Secretaries of State and Defense Mike Pompeo and Mark Esper.
The file remains open to the further addition of individuals that Tehran determines to have played a role in the killing.
Both commanders were highly popular because of their key role in fighting against the ISIL terrorist group in the region, particularly in Iraq and Syria.
Back in January 2020, two days after the assassination, the Iraqi parliament passed a law requiring the Iraqi government to end the presence of the US-led foreign forces in the Arab country.
Last year, Baghdad and Washington reached an agreement on ending the presence of all US combat troops in Iraq by the end of 2021.
The US military declared the end of its combat mission in Iraq this month, but resistance forces remain bent on expelling all American forces, including those who have stayed in the country on the pretext of training Iraqi forces or playing an advisory role.
Since the assassination, Iraqi resistance forces have ramped up pressure on the US military to leave their country, targeting American bases and forces on numerous occasions, at one point pushing the Americans to ask them to “just leave us alone”.
Iran and Iraq in a joint statement earlier this month underlined their determination to identify, prosecute and punish the culprits behind the assassination of General Soleimani and al-Muhandis.
Iran and Iraq have issued a joint statement on an investigation into the “criminal and terrorist” assassination by the US of top anti-terror commanders of the two countries in Baghdad in 2020, Iranian Judiciary Deputy Chief and Secretary-General of Iran's Human Rights Headquarters Kazzem Qaribabadi said.
He added that the statement was issued during the second session of a joint Iran-Iraq committee investigating the murder of General Soleimani and al-Muhandis.
Qaribabadi said that in the statement, Iran and Iraq stressed that the assassinations were a “violation of the rules of international law, including relevant international conventions on the fight against terrorism”.