On January 9th, US President Donald Trump said that General Qassem Soleimani allegedly planned to blow up the US Embassy in Baghdad, and that is specifically why he ordered the drone strike that killed him and other Iranian and Iraqi officials.
Trump has come under heavy opposition from Democrats, as well as the international community for refusing to disclose information on why exactly Soleimani was assassinated.
In remarks to reports in front of the White House, Trump said:
“We did it because they were looking to blow up our embassy. We also did it for other reasons that were very obvious. Somebody died, one of our military people died. People were badly wounded just a week before.”
Prior to this the Trump administration blamed Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp’s Quds Force, for killing American armed forces and the U.S. contractor that died in the shelling of a US air base in Iraq. He was also accused of attempting to organize unrest against the US in Iraq and Lebanon.
An unnamed senior U.S. Defense official said that when Trump was presented with options regarding Iranian threats, other proposals besides killing Soleimani would have involved the possibility of far more casualties.
These accusations and further attempts to demonize Qassem Soleimani, who is an Iranian national hero and one of the main figures in the fight against ISIS are part of the US’ campaign to attempt and justify its unprovoked actions.
These claims followed accusations by several US officials who claimed that on January 7th, Iran attempted to kill US forces with its missile strikes on two US military bases in Iraq.
“The ballistic missiles fired at American bases … we believe were intended to kill Americans,” Vice President Mike Pence said. “We have intelligence to support that was the intention of the Iranians.”
US Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, who told reporters at the Pentagon, “The points of impact were close enough to personnel and equipment and so on and so forth. I believe, based on what I saw and what I know, is that they were intended to cause structural damage, destroy vehicles and equipment and aircraft, and to kill personnel.”
Milley said that Iran, in targeting the al-Asad air base in the western Iraqi desert, “put 11 large rockets with 1,000-pound, 2,000-pound (more than 900-kilogram) warheads in it, but we took sufficient defensive measures.”
Defense Secretary Mark Esper said damage at the al-Asad base was confined to “tentage, taxiways, the parking lot, a damaged helicopter, things like that. Nothing that I would describe as major. No friendly casualties, whether they’re U.S., coalition, contractor.”
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters she holds Soleimani responsible for the deaths of American armed forces. Pelosi said she did not believe that in “terms of what is in the public domain” about the reason for the Trump-ordered drone attack on Soleimani. But according to her, the U.S. was made safer thanks to his death.
Iran discredited the claims by the US, saying that its missile attacks were precise and were not aimed at killing anybody, but rather as a warning and “first step.”
Iranian state media quoted Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, head of the Revolutionary Guard’s Aerospace Force, as saying, “We did not intend to kill. We intended to hit the enemy’s military machinery.” He repeated the Iranian government’s claim that “tens of people were killed or wounded.”
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani added later in a tweet that Iran’s “final answer” to the killing of Soleimani “will be to kick all U.S. forces out of the region.”
All of this followed an address by US President Donald Trump in which he said he wished no war and claimed that he wished for the Iranian people to have a “great future.”
He said that the two countries could cooperate in areas of mutual interest. Such as fighting ISIS, which is specifically what Qassem Soleimani predominantly did.
The Islamic State group “is a natural enemy of Iran,” Trump said. “The destruction of ISIS is good for Iran, and we should work together on this and other shared priorities.”
The U.S. president told the Iranian people, “We want you to have a future, and a great future, one that you deserve. One of prosperity at home and harmony with the nations of the world. The United States is ready to embrace peace with all who seek it.”
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Qassem Soleimani: Martyr Of Iranian Revolution
- Top IRGC Commander Confirms Iranian Missile Strike Was Aimed At “Military Machine”, Not Troops
- Iran Plans No New Military Action If United States Does Not Respond: UN Envoy
- Trump Announces US Response To Iranian Missile Strikes: Empty Words And Sanctions