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Iraq says pursuing justice in General Soleimani’s assassination

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ al-Sudani speaks in a meeting with a delegation of Iranian media representatives in Baghdad, Iraq, on September 8, 2023. (Photo by Tasnim news agency)

Prime Minister Mohammed Shia' al-Sudani of Iraq says Baghdad seriously pursues justice with respect to the assassination of top Iranian anti-terror commander General Qassem Soleimani and his Iraqi trenchmate Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in a US drone strike in 2020.

Sudani made the remarks in a meeting with a delegation of Iranian media representatives in Baghdad on Friday.

The prime minister said the Judicial Council of Iraq and the government pursue the issue seriously. He denounced the targeted killing as a blatant violation of Iraq’s sovereignty.

Sudani said a committee comprising security inspectors has already been formed to compile necessary information, and present evidence in legal forums.

General Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), and their companions were assassinated in a US drone strike authorized by then-president Donald Trump near Baghdad International Airport on January 3, 2020.

Both commanders were highly revered across the Middle East because of their key role in fighting the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in the region, particularly in Iraq and Syria.

On January 8, 2020, the IRGC targeted the US-run Ain al-Asad base in Iraq’s western province of Anbar with a wave of missile attacks in retaliation for the assassination of General Soleimani.

According to the Pentagon, more than 100 American forces suffered “traumatic brain injuries” during the counterstrike on the base.

Iran has described the missile attack on Ain al-Assad as a “first slap.”

Two days after the attack, Iraqi lawmakers approved a bill that required the government to end the presence of all foreign military forces led by the US in the country.

Presence of foreign troops on Iraqi soil

Elsewhere in his remarks, Sudani pointed to the presence of trans-regional forces in Iraq, stating that the matter is an important and sensitive issue that must be quickly addressed. He said Iraq's security forces have developed the capability to secure the country by themselves.

Sudani highlighted that the Iraqi government, representing all political factions, has the authority to engage in dialogue to eliminate the military presence of foreign troops.

He also said that Iraq's Minister of Defense Thabet Mohammad al-Abbasi was in Washington for negotiations regarding the pullout of US-led forces from Iraq.

We will stand by Iranians in the face of US sanctions

Sudani noted that Iraq will stand by the side of Iranians in the face of Washington’s cruel sanctions against Tehran, as the Iranian people rendered full support to the Iraqi nation in various crises.

Iraq mediating between Iran, some Arab states

The Iraqi prime minister also confirmed Baghdad’s role as a mediator between Iran and several Arab countries.

Sudani, however, stated that due to the highly confidential nature of the matter, he cannot disclose the details of the talks or the names of the countries involved until concrete results are obtained.

Iraq pledges to fully implement security agreement with Iran

Moreover, Sudani affirmed Baghdad's unwavering dedication to fully implement the country’s security agreement with Tehran.

He said various reasons compel the Iraqi government to address Tehran's security concerns regarding the activities of anti-Iran terrorist groups in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.

For that reason, Iraq has invested over two hundred million dollars and deployed more than three thousand National Army troops along its borders with Iran and the Kurdistan region, the Iraqi prime minister said.

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