Senior Cleric: US More Weakened after Assassinating Gen. Soleimani
TEHRAN (FNA)- Tehran's provisional Friday Prayers leader Hojjatoleslam Kazzem Seddiqi blasted the US for the assassination of Iran's anti-terror commander, and said that Washington has become more isolated and weakened in the world after martyrdom of Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani.
Addressing a congregation of people at Tehran's Imam Khomeini Grand Mosalla (congregational prayers site), Hojjatoleslam Seddiqi said, "With the assassination of General Soleimani and his companions, the evil assassin of Martyr Soleimani thought that Resistance movement would be defeated, not only the Resistance movement was not weakened, but also Resistance Front was invigorated and Americans sustained a crushing defeat in the region."
"Today we see the strength and authority of combatants in Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen and also in Afghanistan that US forces were expelled from this country in disgrace after the martyrdom of Gen. Soleimani," he added.
Former Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Qods Force Lieutenant General Qassem 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 last 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, Deputy Head of Iran’s Judiciary for international affairs and secretary general of the country's High Council for Human Rights 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”.