TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the only people celebrating the assassination of Iran’s revered commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani are US President Donald Trump, his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and the Daesh (ISIS or ISIL) terrorist group.
Speaking at a security conference in the Indian capital of New Delhi on Wednesday, Zarif said people across the globe took to the streets to mourn Gen. 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,” Zarif was quoted by Press TV as saying.
“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,” he 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 US has never brought about peace and stability to the region, citing the situations in Afghanistan and Iraq, the top Iranian diplomat said.
He also referred to Iran’s missile attack on the US airbase of Ain al-Assad 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,” Zarif 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 added.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Zarif emphasized that it was Iran that first triggered the dispute mechanism featured in the 2015 nuclear deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
He said, “The mechanism was triggered by Iran on May 10, 2018 in a letter that I wrote to (then EU foreign policy chief) Federica Mogherini and a letter that I wrote to the Secretary General of the United Nations,” days after the US left the deal.
He also described the JCPOA as “one of the best deals that has been made in the recent past” and “one of the few major achievements of multilateral diplomacy.”
On Tuesday, the three European signatories to the deal, Britain, France, and Germany, released a joint statement saying the mechanism was activated in response to what they claimed to be Iran’s repeated violations of the accord.
Asked whether the move marked the end of agreement, he replied, “Well, it depends on Europe.”
“So Europe is in violation not of its commitments after the US withdrawal but of its obvious commitments in the JCPOA. What they do not want you to hear is first of all Iran did trigger Paragraph 36 (of the deal). We are implementing Paragraph 36 right now that is the dispute resolution mechanism,” he said.
He was referring to Iran’s suspension of its commitments under the JCPOA in response to Washington’s withdrawal and Europe’s ensuing failure to circumvent the sanctions the US re-imposed on Iran.
He also criticized the European Union for surrendering to US bullying, saying, “The EU is the largest global economy, so why do you allow the United States to bully you around?”
He emphasized that the existing nuclear deal was not dead.
“I had a US deal and the US broke it. If I have a Trump deal, how long will it last? Another 10 month? Maybe until his flight from Canada? You remember the G8?” he asked sarcastically, referring to Trump’s retracting of his endorsement of the joint statement of the summit in Canada in June 2019.
“Our economy has suffered without any fault of Iran over the past two years. Hundreds of billions of dollars in damages. Are they going to pay us back?” he asked.
Touching on the accidental downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane near Tehran, Zarif said, “Our military forces were brave enough to claim responsibility early.”
“Of course if you look at compatible situations, it was disclosed too early. Because there are incidents where two years, ten years have gone by and nobody has claimed responsibility,” he said.
He lashed out at the United States for creating crises in the region, saying a combination of “ignorance and arrogance” by the US has been fueling mayhem there.
“The United States needs to think again about our region. They’re making a mistake. They’re adding one mistake to another. Now, we had this disaster of the shooting of a civilian airline, accidental shooting, but shooting, nevertheless. 180 families are mourning the loss of very bright young people. We lost a lot of very bright minds. Why did it happen? because there was a crisis.”