Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro says the international community must express severe condemnation of the 2020 assassination of top anti-terror Iranian commander General Qassem Soleimani, who was martyred in a US drone strike in Iraq last January.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Lebanon’s Arabic-language al-Mayadeen television news network, Maduro denounced the US assassination as a horrific crime.
“Is this really a world we want, where the White House issues an order to kill a hero of the struggle against terrorism in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon?” Maduro inquired.
General Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), was assassinated near Baghdad International Airport on January 3, 2020, in a drone strike directly ordered by former US president Donald Trump. Soleimani’s companions, including Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), were also martyred in the attack.
The Iranian general’s assassination highlighted the necessity of expelling all US forces from Iraq, with Iraqi resistance groups pursuing that goal ever since.
“General Soleimani was a smiling and optimistic man. I thank God for ever meeting him,” the Venezuelan president said, recalling that Soleimani visited Caracas sometime between March and April 2019.
“We were in the midst of an electricity crisis orchestrated by imperialists against Venezuela’s national electrical power grid. We had conversations on several areas of cooperation, including electricity,” he said, stressing that all matters discussed were later put into action.
“He fought terrorism and savage criminals, who attacked ordinary people and the Axis of Resistance. He was a brave man,” Maduro asserted.
Venezuela’s president to visit Iran ‘very soon’
Maduro also said his South American country’s relations with the Islamic Republic have always been really good.
The Venezuelan president said he has agreed on several new cooperation agreements with his Iranian counterpart President Ebrahim Raeisi.
He explained that joint commissions are working on the new projects, adding that he will soon visit Iran to finalize the new deals.
“I am going to Tehran very soon, for a visit that President Raisi offered me, so that we meet in person, to hold conversations and sign new agreements ... and speed up processes of cooperation,” Maduro said.
The Venezuelan president also revered Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei as a man of great wisdom and prudence.
In October, Raeisi hailed the expanding and friendly Iran-Venezuela ties, saying Tehran is determined to boost its relations with developing countries, especially nations that seek to maintain their independence.
“Latin America, especially Venezuela, is on the top of the Islamic Republic’s economic, diplomatic priorities, and we are determined to expand our ties with these countries,” Raeisi said during a meeting with Venezuelan Foreign Minister Felix Plasencia in Tehran on October 18.
The Iranian president stressed the necessity of expanding Tehran-Caracas ties in different fields and underscored the importance of having “a clear and long-term plan” in order to strengthen the bilateral ties to their maximum.
Venezuela won’t abandon Palestine
Elsewhere in his remarks, Maduro said his country will never abandon the Palestinian cause, calling on the international community and world states not to leave Palestinians unprotected in the face of the Israeli regime’s crimes against them.
He underscored that no one in the world can force Caracas into withdrawing support from the Palestinian issue.
“We will not yield to such demands. It is a sin to simply think of abandoning Palestine or leaving it by itself. Palestine is humanity’s Holy Land, and we hold Palestinian lands in such high regard. We hear the name ‘Palestine’ loud and high,” Maduro said.
Nicolas Maduro sent a message through #AlMayadeen to the Palestinian people, in which he affirmed #Venezuela's, the Venezuelan people's, and the leader Hugo Chavez's Bolivarian revolution's support for #Palestine.— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) December 26, 2021
Read more: https://t.co/u9ccKfaSgi@NicolasMaduro pic.twitter.com/Mtymyeeknk
He also denounced the ongoing heinous crimes against Palestinians across the occupied territories, emphasizing that Israel will pay for them one day.
“We wish Palestine well. We have cooperation agreements with it, and the agreements are going very well. We would like to give more for Palestine,” Maduro said, calling on the international community, world states, and Arab and Muslim leaders not to leave Palestine alone.
He added that Palestine deserves unwavering and fearless support from all world leaders, noting, “Palestine is crying out for help. Palestine is asking for your support. Crimes are being committed against it every day, and its young people are getting killed every day.”
The Venezuelan leader described the Israeli regime’s crimes against Palestinians as “inexplicable” and unmatched in history, reiterating his country’s deep-seated support and affection for Palestinian people.
Syria will rise again with Assad
Maduro also expressed support for Syria, stating that he is confident the Arab country will finally overcome the existing conflict under President Bashar al-Assad.
“The Arab world and the entire international community will be astonished at how Syria will rise from the ashes in the following years,” he stated.
Venezuela’s President #NicolasMaduro to #AlMayadeen: "The Syrian people have suffered a lot during the past 11 years, and they knew very well how to remain steadfast and come out victorious."@NicolasMaduro #Syria #Venezuela pic.twitter.com/RQXw2DGU5V— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) December 26, 2021
Maduro said the Syrian nation has suffered a lot as a result of the decade-long foreign-sponsored militancy, predicting that Syrian government forces, together with the Syrian people and leadership, will eventually fully liberate the occupied territories from the clutches of terrorist groups.
Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since 2011. In recent years, the US has been maintaining an illegal military presence on Syrian soil, collaborating with terrorists against Syria’s legitimate government, stealing the country’s crude oil resources, and bombing the positions of the Syrian army and anti-terror popular forces, all while imposing crippling sanctions on Damascus.