0442 GMT January 23, 2020
The fight against Daesh suffered a setback with the assassination of General Qassem Soleimani, Zarif said on Wednesday, the Hindu reported.
Addressing the annual Raisina Dialogue, the Iranian foreign minister urged New Delhi to join Tehran in recreating a new coalition to fight Daesh, as the terrorist group was now spreading its tentacles in Afghanistan – close to both Iran and India, deccanherald.com reported.
Speaking at the security conference in the Indian capital, Zarif said the only people celebrating the assassination of Iran’s prominent anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Soleimani are US President Donald Trump, his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Daesh terror group, Press TV reported.
He said people across the globe took to the streets to mourn Soleimani’s martyrdom.
“The United States didn’t like General Soleimani although he was the single most effective force against Daesh. If you don’t believe me, see they’re celebrating. Who are celebrating the death of Soleimani? Not ordinary people. In 430 Indian cities, they mourn his death. Two people are celebrating: President Trump and Pompeo and Daesh,” he said.
Trump ordered the drone strike on General Soleimani’s motorcade upon his arrival in Baghdad on January 3. The attack also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), as well as eight other Iranian and Iraqi people.
“The US accused Soleimani of trying to wage a war against the United States by hitting four of its embassies. Now we know that President Trump authorized the killing seven months ago...and that there was no threat against US embassies,” Zarif said.
“Soleimani went to Iraq not only to deliver a diplomatic message to the prime minister of Iraq but also to calm down the Iraqis who were enraged by the US killing 25 members of Iraqi armed forces for the killing of one US contractor,” he added.
The top Iranian diplomat stressed that the US has never brought about peace and stability to the region, citing the situations in Afghanistan and Iraq.
He also referred to Iran’s missile attack on the American Ain al-Assad air base in Iraq, which came in retaliation for the US targeted killing of General Soleimani.
The US assassination “was an unprovoked attack abusing Iraqi territory against an Iraqi guest inside Iraq,” he said.
“We took action in self-defense under Article 51 of the UN Charter against a military attack on our military personnel in a foreign land by targeting the base from which the attack had come,” he pointed out.