Iran’s Zarif: Only Trump and ISIS Are Celebrating Qassem Soleimani’s Death

By Patrick Goodenough | January 16, 2020 | 4:36am EST
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and Qassem Soleimani. (Photo: IRNA)
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and Qassem Soleimani. (Photo: IRNA)

( – The only people who celebrated the death of Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani were President Trump and the Sunni terrorist group ISIS, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said Wednesday.

Alluding to Soleimani’s key involvement in Iraqi Shi’ite militias’ armed campaign against ISIS, Zarif said the war against ISIS, also known by the Arabic acronym Da’esh, had suffered a “major setback” with the killing of Soleimani in a U.S. airstrike in Baghdad on January 3.

Zarif, who was speaking at a geopolitics forum in New Delhi, described Soleimani as “the most-effective anti-Da’esh general.”

“The two people celebrating the death of General Soleimani are ISIS and President Trump,” he said, adding that the United States needed to make clear where it stands in the fight against ISIS.

(The U.S. brought together and led a military coalition to destroy ISIS in both Iraq and Syria, but the Iranian regime has long claimed that the Sunni terrorist group was a “creation” of the United States.) 

Zarif also took aim at a regular target, lashing out at Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for tweeting, after Soleimani’s death, that people in the region were dancing in the streets.

“Iraqis – Iraqis – dancing in the street for freedom; thankful that General Soleimani is no more,” Pompeo tweeted at the time, with an accompanying short video clip.

“When they assassinated a revered general in Iraq, violating Iraqi sovereignty, they thought – as Secretary Pompeo tweeted – that people would be dancing in the streets of Tehran and Baghdad,” Zarif told the Raisina Dialogue, a conference hosted by the Indian foreign ministry and the Observer Research Foundation think tank.

Zarif said Pompeo’s tweet, which had pointed to “a small gathering of a few” people, revealed two things which were dangerous alone, but even more so when combined – “ignorance and arrogance.”

“And when you become an arrogant ignorant, or an ignorant arrogant, it becomes a disaster, particularly if you have a lot of power.”

Zarif said mourning for Soleimani had gone far beyond Iran. He had heard, for instance, that people in “430 Indian cities” had come out in spontaneous demonstrations and meetings to commemorate a man whom the U.S. calls a terrorist.

He said the numbers of those who took to the streets in response to Soleimani’s death dwarfed those who had demonstrated against authorities over the accidental shooting down of a Ukrainian passenger plane last week. (Zarif claimed that he and President Hassan Rouhani had only learned of the cause of the plane crash last Friday, two days after it occurred.)

“Nine million, ten million people turned out in the streets, not only in Tehran but various cities in Iran, and Iraq and Lebanon and India and Russia, to commemorate Soleimani,” he said. “You cannot bring nine million people to the streets with force.”

Zarif also said the Iranian missile strike on two Iraqi bases hosting U.S. forces last Tuesday was in compliance with international law and the right of self-defense.

The U.S. military’s killing of Soleimani, he said, “was an unprovoked attack, abusing Iraqi territory against an Iraqi guest inside Iraq.”

“We took action in self-defense, under article 51 of the [United Nations] Charter, against a military attack on our military personnel in a foreign land, by targeting the base from which the attack [against Soleimani] had come.”


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