Zarif says Gen. Soleimani was a strong proponent of peace

January 4, 2021 - 22:15

TEHRAN – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has lauded the late anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, describing him as a strong proponent of peace in the region.

“Any peace plan I pursued had surely been devised by Hajj Qassem; he both encouraged us and helped us with the follow-ups,” Zarif said in a televised interview on Sunday night.

He said he always consulted with General Soleimani and his advice was always useful to him.

“As a person who has always worked in the field of peace and negotiation, I truly consider him not just a champion of fight against terrorists, but also a hero in peace-making efforts,” Zarif said, according to Press TV.

On January 3, 2020, U.S. President Donald Trump ordered drone strikes that martyred General Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), in Baghdad.

At the time of the assassination, Soleimani was on a diplomatic peace mission in neighboring Iraq.

“As a person who has always worked in the field of peace and negotiation, I truly consider him not just a champion of fight against terrorists, but also a hero in peace-making efforts,” Zarif says. 

Five days later, Iran’s IRGC attacked Ain al-Assad airbase in western Iraq, where U.S. forces were stationed, as part of its promised “tough revenge” for the U.S. terror attack.

Iran has also vowed to spare no efforts in bringing the assassins of General Soleimani, especially Trump, to justice.

“In the time when I was Iran’s ambassador and permanent (UN) representative in the U.S., and during the negotiations I had been ordered by the Supreme Leader to hold, I used to come back to Tehran to consult with Hajj Qassem, and then leave the country to hold negotiations,” Zarif said.

“Once I asked the Supreme Leader to allow Hajj Qassem to personally participate in the sessions, and I was sure the talks would have been much more successful [with him in attendance],” he added.

Zarif also highlighted the significant role played by General Soleimani in the 2001 Bonn Conference, which resulted in an agreement on the re-creation of the state of Afghanistan following the U.S. invasion of the country.

“Hajj Qassem played a more important role in Tehran by holding talks with all jihadi groups of Afghanistan, to convince them to accept an equation which could shape a new future for Afghanistan in the years to come,” the foreign minister added.

The chief Iranian diplomat then described Soleimani’s assassination as a “cowardly act” by Trump. “It was an easy job to hit that car,” he said.

“The Americans were terrified of Hajj Qassem and considered him a genius in the battlefront. He was a genius who had defeated them in Syria and Yemen,” he added.

‘Daesh is the only beneficiary of Soleimani assassination’

In a tweet on Sunday night, Zarif voiced similar remarks about the assassination, saying, “A year ago today, Enemy #1 of extremist terrorists was cowardly assassinated by the terrorist-in-chief.”

“As our region solemnly commemorates his one year passing, a reminder that the only beneficiary of his murder is Daesh (ISIS), which has only increased its activity since,” he added.

On Saturday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry slammed Trump’s “crucial role” in promoting terrorism, from al-Qaeda to Daesh, in the West Asia region.

“It’s a well-documented fact, which’s been admitted by Trump, that U.S. has had a crucial role in the rise of terrorism in our region, from AQ to ISIS,” the ministry wrote in a tweet.

It also described the U.S. and Daesh as “brothers in arms.”

“Not surprising that the U.S. assassination of Gen #Soleimani was cheered by ISIS: brothers in arms,” the tweet added.
MH/PA

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