US president Donald Trump said that over the years, the Iranian General Qassem Soleimani has been responsible for the death of “thousands of Americans”. The commander of the Iranian Al-Quds brigades wanted to “kill many more”, but has now been “caught”, Trump wrote on Friday. “He was directly and indirectly responsible for the deaths of millions of people, including the large number of demonstrators recently killed in Iran”.
Trump had not yet publicly commented on the operation. On Friday morning he only wrote on Twitter that “Iran never won a war, but never lost a negotiation.” He had already said this in the past. It could be understood as a threat that Iran would lose a war against America in any case. The negotiations could allude to Trump’s hated nuclear deal, which had been negotiated under the leadership of his predecessor Barack Obama. “He should have been killed many years ago,” Trump wrote, referring to the American airstrike he ordered in Iraq, in which Qassem Soleimani had been killed on Thursday (local time). Soleimani was also hated and feared in Iran itself. The leadership in Tehran is far from being as sad as it claims.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on Tehran to “deescalate”. Iran should now behave like a normal country and no longer support terrorists across the region, Pompeo said on Friday in an interview with Fox News. “We don’t want a war with Iran,” said Pompeo. He was the first senior government official to speak out after the fatal air raid in Baghdad.
He hoped that the leadership in Tehran recognized the “determination” of the American government and “that it decided to deescalate,” Pompeo said . Should Iran take a different route and challenge the United States again, President Donald Trump and his entire government are ready to “respond appropriately”. The United States would “not watch the Iranians escalate and continue to endanger the lives of American citizens,” warned Pompeo.
With Soleimani’s death, Iraq and the Middle East are now safer and have a better chance of living in freedom and security. “The absence of Qassem Soleimani is a blessing for this region,” said Pompeo. The American air raid “reduced risks” for the region. Aimed at critics in the United States, Pompeo said the operation was “completely legal” and “strategically correct”.
The United States had already transferred 100 Kuwait soldiers to the diplomatic mission this week following violent protests at the American embassy in Baghdad. In addition, 750 additional US soldiers were transferred to the region. More would be ready, the Ministry of Defense said. The United States currently has approximately 5,000 soldiers stationed in Iraq. Thousands of American soldiers are also stationed in the other Middle East countries – including Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.
Iran’s top leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, appointed a successor to Soleimani on Friday. It is his current deputy, General Ismaeil Ghaani. With him, the path of the Al-Quds brigades should continue as well as with Soleimani, according to Khamenei in his letter, according to the Tasnim news agency.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on the heads of state and government to “maximum restraint” on Friday. “The world cannot afford another Gulf War,” said Guterres, according to the United Nations in New York. He has always advocated deescalation in the Gulf region and the recent escalation deeply worries him.