Those involved in assassination of Gen. Soleimani must be held accountable

May 10, 2021 - 21:13

TEHRAN— In his weekly press briefing on Monday, spokesman for the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs strongly condemned the recent attack on the Iranian consulate in the central Iraqi city of Karbala, saying that the Iraqi government must protect Iranian diplomatic centers according to the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

“Unfortunately, last night some people attacked the Iranian consulate in Karbala. From the very beginning, the Iranian Consulate General in Karbala and the Iranian Embassy in Baghdad contacted the relevant authorities in the area, and the security forces dealt with these unknown individuals who had attempted to attack,” Saeed Khatibzadeh said. 

Khatibzadeh stated that the Islamic Republic of Iran condemns the attack on its diplomatic facilities, and “under the 1961 Convention we expect the Iraqi government to fulfill its responsibilities to protect Iran's diplomatic buildings.”

The spokesman said on Sunday night the Iranian Foreign Ministry submitted a note of protest to the Iraqi embassy in Iran.

“We will continue our follow-up in this regard, and as I said, we expect the Iraqi government to fulfill its duties in this regard very carefully,” the diplomat remarked. 

‘Those involved in the assassination of Gen. Soleimani are criminally and legally responsible’

In response to a question regarding the report published by Yahoo News about the assassination of General Soleimani and the alleged involvement of some regional intelligence services in the assassination, the Foreign Ministry spokesman said the legal procedure of the assassination of General Soleimani is followed by the judiciary internationally, as well as during bilateral legal and political talks with the Iraqi government. 

“Many of the reports (including the report published Sunday) are not hidden from us, and verifications about them have either been done or are being done by the relevant authorities,” Khatibzadeh remarked. 

He continued by saying that Iran’s position is the same as it has been announced before.

“All those who directly and indirectly participated in this cowardly assassination have criminal and judicial responsibilities, and the relevant authorities are in charge of their cases and they will be dealt with in their own way,” the spokesman highlighted. 

‘Iran is worried by developments in Afghanistan’

When asked about recent developments in Afghanistan, the spokesman replied by saying that the events in Afghanistan have upset and worried Iran. 

“We care about Afghanistan,” he stressed. 

Khatibzadeh added, "While offering our condolences to the families of the victims of this brutal attack, we express our condolences to the people and the government of Afghanistan and think that it is time to use the capacities of brotherhood against extremist ideologies and Takfiri groups all in one piece and act united.”

He stressed that the national security of Afghanistan is very closely related to the national security of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Iran follows developments in Afghanistan carefully and in detail.

The spokesman added, “We did our best to facilitate inter-Afghan dialogue. We tried to provide genuine inter-Afghan dialogue.”

The diplomat said that Iran still believes that the only way to a prosperous and stable Afghanistan is an inclusive government with the will of the Afghan people.

“We do not think that any regional or trans-regional actor has the right to decide for the political future of the proud people of Afghanistan. This has always been our position and we have always stood by the people and government of Afghanistan to facilitate these talks,” he said. 

He expressed concerns over the reports about Afghanistan that the ministry has recently received, labeling them as “not good reports.”

Khatibzadeh stated, “Iran's special envoy is in constant contact with the authorities of Afghanistan and other countries and we hope to prevent another crisis in Afghanistan with the help of Afghan groups.”

‘Iran-Saudi dialogue have been both regional and bilateral’

In response to a question about Iran-Saudi dialogue, the spokesman replied by saying that the talks between Tehran and Riyadh have been about “both bilateral and regional issues.” 

“We have always welcomed such talks at any level and in any form, and this is not a new policy,” Khatibzadeh underlined. 

In response to a question whether a change in the Saudi position is clear, he said in international relations one makes assessment based on the other side’s conducts rather than reading intentions.

Khatibzadeh said that certainly, de-escalation of relations between the two great Islamic countries in the Persian Gulf region is in the interest of both nations and the region. 

“As a responsible country, we think that we should always welcome clearing up ambiguities and issues between the two countries,” the spokesman emphasized. 

The diplomat said that Iran hopes that by changing the current atmosphere, all sides involved can reach a meaningful understanding for bilateral relations and regional developments.

He stressed that Iran will use all its capacities in this regard.

He continued, "We must see the results of the talks and make decisions and judgments based on the results of the dialogue. Now it is too early to comment on the results and issues related to these talks.”

‘Iran-UAE ties were never severed’

On reports by certain Arab media outlets on Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s planned visit to the UAE, the spokesman replied by saying that Iran-UAE never cut ties. 

“We had diplomatic relations with the United Arab Emirates, and these relations have never been severed. The Emirates is one of our main trading partners in the region. Over the past year, conversations have naturally taken place at various levels, both in person and online,” he remarked. 

He added that Zarif's visit to the UAE has been on the agenda and this trip will take place when the travel conditions are provided.

‘Iran welcomes all initiatives to solve the Yemen issue’

In response to questions about developments in Yemen, the spokesman said, "We welcome any initiative to resolve the Yemeni issue.”

Referring to the deplorable situation of the Yemeni people and the siege of the Yemeni people, he said that none of the Islamic countries should be satisfied with the current situation in Yemen.

“If Saudi Arabia returns from its wrong path as soon as possible and ends the suffering of the Yemeni people, it will benefit both the Yemeni people and the region.” 

In response to the report published by the Anadolu News Agency, Khatibzadeh stated that he refuses to comment on anonymous media reports and emphasized that Iran’s presence in Yemen is merely a diplomatic to “alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people.”

“We have repeatedly emphasized that the solution to the Yemeni crisis is a political and diplomatic solution and there is no military solution, and in this regard, we have presented our four-point plan and we emphasize the political and diplomatic solution to the Yemeni issue,” he highlighted.

‘Iran stands in solidarity with Palestine’

About the Sheikh Jarrah tragedy, the spokesman expressed his solidarity with the oppressed people of Palestine. 

“The Islamic world must respond unanimously to the crimes of the Zionists. The United Nations, along with other international organizations, has a firm responsibility to address these abuses,” he noted. 

He added that Iran is closely following the events in the occupied territories.

‘Asadi detention was illegal from the beginning’

In response to a question about Assadollah Asadi, an Iranian diplomat detained in Belgium, Khatibzadeh said, “His detention was illegal from the beginning and a violation of the 1961 Vienna Convention on diplomatic immunities.”

He highlighted that the whole judicial process lacks the necessary legitimacy.

“We said from the beginning that we consider it against international law, and it is a very dangerous innovation that these countries have made,” he expressed. 

The diplomat added that Iran thinks the court ruling has no legitimacy and will not be recognized. 

“We hold all the countries involved accountable and we believe that Mr. Asadi should benefit from his diplomatic rights as soon as possible,” the spokesman noted. 

He explained that as the judicial process lack legitimacy, Mr. Asadi and his lawyer have no objection to this ruling.

He underlined, “We believe that the Belgian government knows the position of Iran, which has been conveyed in a transparent manner.

‘Zarif accepts invitation to Syria’

Responding to a question on the recent Iran-Syria consultations, the spokesman said, “In this telephone conversation, Mr. Zarif was invited to travel to Syria, and he accepted the invitation.”

Khatibzadeh also commented on reports that some media outlets about stopping a ship carrying weapons in the Arabian Sea and that the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet had claimed that the ship belonged to Iran by saying, “It is clear that Iran has only a diplomatic presence in Yemen, and these reports are not confirmed at all.”

‘G7 statement disturbs Vienna negotiations’

When asked about the recent G7 statement, Khatibzadeh responded, “I saw this statement. It is really unfortunate that while the Islamic Republic of Iran has repeatedly stated that the production, stockpiling and use of any weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, is absolutely ‘haraam’ (sinful and forbidden), such statements are published.”

The spokesman noted following the constructive atmosphere that has been created in the Vienna nuclear deal talks, such statements do not help at all and negate the existing atmosphere in Vienna. 

“The Group of Seven and the leaders of these countries have forgotten that the party that withdrew from the nuclear deal and tried to invalidate United Nations Security Council resolution and punish everyone for adhering to this resolution” was their “today and yesterday’s partner,” that is the United States, he remarked. 

He said that the G7 countries are partnered with the United States in U.S. economic terrorism against the Iranian nation in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The United States brazenly exerted “maximum pressure” on the Iranian nation. This is definitely a good reminder for them, and I think their memory is not so weak,” Khatibzadeh reminded the leaders of the G7 countries.  

He stated that the U.S. economic sanctions and terrorism are still in place, and the European countries have not yet fulfilled any of their obligations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to lift sanctions and let Iran to benefit from the JCPOA dividends. 

“On other issues raised in the statement, the Islamic Republic of Iran is not in compromise with any country regarding its own national security. The missiles of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Iranian defense program are part of the Iranian defense system, and there is really no violation of Resolution 2231 by the Iranian missile program. Resolution 2231 is quite clear, and Iran's actions in this area are fully consistent with it,” he emphasized.

He added that the worst behavior is an instrumental and political use of a great moral concept such as human rights, “which unfortunately European countries and the United States are masters at abusing it for their own short-sighted political ambitions.”

“What is happening today in Yemen, Iraq and Afghanistan, and in African countries, and in many other countries, is the result of the fabricated human rights of these countries, which exported bombs, missiles and weapons to these countries, and today falsely claim human rights,” he noted. 

He invited the United States and the European countries to honestly reconsider their positions and behavior.


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