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Iran foreign minister says perpetrators behind Soleimani assassinations must be punished

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iran’s new Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian

Iran’s new Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian says the United States will not go unpunished for its assassination of Iran’s top anti-terror General Qassem Soleimani, vowing to pursue legal actions against those behind the act of terror.

“The US government cannot escape the consequences of this act, and the perpetrators and directors of this terrorist act must be punished and brought to justice for their action,” Amir-Abdollahian said on Saturday.

He made the remarks upon visiting a memorial site at Baghdad International Airport, where Soleimani and his companions, including Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy chief of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) resistance group, were targeted in an airstrike directly ordered by former US President Donald Trump last year.

Tehran has on numerous occasions sworn vengeance on Soleimani’s assassinators. It launched a barrage of missiles at two US bases in Iraq in response and identified 36 individuals – with Trump at the top of the list – in connection with the act of terror.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry will pursue the assassination of Soleimani and Muhandis legally and through international channels, Amir-Abdollahian stated.

“The US government must be held accountable, even though the previous administration committed the crime,” the senior Iranian diplomat added.

Amir-Abdollahian’s trip to Iraq marks his first as Iran’s foreign minister, a post he assumed on Wednesday after receiving a unanimous vote of confidence from the Iranian Parliament.

He arrived in Baghdad at the head of a delegation to attend the Baghdad International Conference “For Cooperation and Participation.”

Iraq has also invited Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Egypt, Jordan and Turkey to the summit, which is co-organized by France.

High on the agenda of the conference is finding ways to ease tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia five years after they severed ties.

At the time of his assassination on January 3, 2020, Soleimani was on a diplomatic mission to Baghdad on de-escalating tensions between Tehran and Riyadh, Iraq's then-Caretaker Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi said at the time.

Iran’s new President Ebrahim Raeisi has underlined his intention to mend the ties with Saudi Arabia and even voiced readiness to reopen embassies.

Picking Amir-Abdollahian, an expert on Middle Eastern issues, as his foreign minister is viewed as a move reflecting Raeisi’s resolve to establish closer ties with neighbors.


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