TEHRAN — Iran has called on Iraq to pursue the case of U.S. assassination of top Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), in the Iraqi soil.
“Serious pursuit of the cowardly assassination of martyrs Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis through international bodies is the least measure that the Iraqi government is expected to do,” Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), said on Sunday.
He made the remarks during a meeting with Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein, who was in Iran to meet top Iranian officials.
Hussein on Saturday met President Hassan Rouhani, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Parliament Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf.
Shamkhani described the assassination as a clear example of “state terrorism”, saying the least punishment for the perpetrators would be their immediate expulsion from the region, especially from Iraq.
On January 3, U.S. President Donald Trump ordered strikes that martyred General Soleimani, chief of the IRGC Quds Force, and al-Muhandis.
In the early hours of January 8, the IRGC attacked Ain al-Assad airbase in Anbar province in western Iraq as part of its promised “tough revenge” for the U.S. terror attack. Iran notified the Iraqi government beforehand so as to avoid casualties.
In June, Tehran said 36 individuals have been identified in connection with the Soleimani assassination.
“36 individuals who cooperated, collaborated, and participated in the assassination of Hajj Qassem, including political and military authorities of the U.S. and other countries, have been identified,” Tehran Prosecutor General Ali Alqasi-Mehr said.
Alqasi-Mehr named Trump as the key individual at the top of the list, saying his pursuit will continue even after his tenure as U.S. president.
During the Sunday meeting, the Iraqi foreign minister said that his country will never forget the sacrifices made by Iranian people in order to root out Takfiri terrorism from Iraq.
Describing Iran and Iraq as two friendly, brotherly neighbors, he said, “Saddam, with the 8-year war, could not drive a wedge between the two nations, and this is a good reason that no other foreign side will also be able to negatively impact the good relations between the two countries.”
Ghalibaf says Soleimani assassination was ‘insult’ to Iraq’s sovereignty
During a separate meeting with Foreign Minister Hussein On Saturday evening, Ghalibaf said that the U.S. assassination of General Soleimani was an insult to Iraq’s sovereignty and a violation of the country’s independence.
“One of the demands of the Iraqi people, government and parliament is the U.S. exit from that country,” he said, branding the United States as the source of instability in the region.
“Evidence shows that the U.S. has strengthened terrorists in the region, including Daesh (ISIS),” the speaker remarked.
Ghalibaf also underlined the need to boost peace and security in Iraq and the region, saying the only way to resolve Iraq’s problems would be the U.S. withdrawal from the country.
Hussein, for his part, expressed the hope that Iran would continue to support his country.
He also said Baghdad is determined to protect its independence and territorial integrity.
Since the Trump-ordered assassination of Soleimani, the Islamic Republic has ramped up calls for the U.S. expulsion from the region.
In his meeting with the Iraqi foreign minister, President Rouhani underlined the need for the withdrawal U.S. forces from the region, saying, “We consider the presence of U.S. armed forces in the region, whether in Iraq, Afghanistan or the southern countries of the Persian Gulf, as detrimental to security and stability in the region.”
The president further noted that removing the U.S. forces from the region is not up to Iran, instead, it is up to every country that the Americans are present in.
Original News : https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/452938/Iran-calls-on-Iraq-to-pursue-Soleimani-assassination-case