Iran’s top military commander said that Muslim youths the world over will never stop seeking revenge for the death of General Qassem Soleimani, who was assassinated by the United States in 2019, the state-controlled Press TV reported Sunday.
The chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, Maj.- Gen. Mohammad Bagheri, made the remarks in a statement ahead of the third anniversary of Soleimani’s death.
“Revenge against the masterminds and perpetrators of General Soleimani’s assassination will never be removed from the agenda of the youths of the Muslim world and his devotees across the world,” Bagheri said, according to the report.
Soleimani, 62, the head of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, was killed on January 3, 2020, in an airstrike carried out by an American MQ-9 Reaper drone. He was struck while traveling from Baghdad’s international airport.
Describing Soleimani as “our national hero,” Bagheri said that those who carried out the killing were mistaken in thinking they had removed the “biggest obstacle in the way of their arrogant and expansionist goals in the geography of the Muslim world.”
On Monday, Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said that his country will use all available legal, political, and diplomatic means, sparing no effort to bring to justice those involved in killing Soleimani.
“In addition to following all legal channels, we have declared and registered the US administration’s responsibility in the assassination through an official memo, and will follow up on our lawsuit through its own natural path,” Amir-Abdollahian said in an interview.
He accused the US and other Western countries of trying to “stonewall and obstruct the process of legal pursuit of the case.”
Amir-Abdollahian said Iran’s “hands are not tied” and that alongside its legal efforts the Islamic Republic is pursuing other means to punish those it holds responsible. That includes putting 60 American officials on a blacklist, he said, according to the Press TV report. Washington has demanded that the list be scrapped, he claimed.
“The American side has, through indirect channels, explained to the Islamic Republic that the blacklisting has prompted Washington to invest ‘exorbitant expenses’ in ensuring those officials’ safety both inside the United States and during their overseas trips,” Amir-Abdollahian said.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kan’ani tweeted that former US president Donald Trump, who was in office at the time and approved the assassination, should be held to account for “a disgraceful act.”
“A fair trial over the former US president’s crime would be a service to humanity,” he wrote and described Trump as “the godfather of international terrorism.”
Iran has long vowed revenge for Soleimani’s killing.
A book by journalists Peter Baker and Susan Glasser, which examines Trump’s turbulent tenure in the White House, claims that during his last days in office the president expressed concerns to his friends over Iranian revenge for the Soleimani assassination.
Confirming the Iranian general’s death at the time, the US Department of Defense said, “Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region.” The IRGC is a US-designated terrorist organization.
The attack came hours after then-US defense secretary Mark Esper said that Washington was ready to step up activities to push Iran-backed forces out of Iraq, including preemptive strikes.
The assassination marked a major escalation in a simmering conflict between the US and Iran. Several days after the general’s death, Iran responded by firing ballistic missiles at two US bases in Iraq. The Pentagon said dozens of troops suffered traumatic brain injuries as a result.