RNA - Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the late commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps’ Quds Force continues to inspire anti-US resistance even after his martyrdom in an air raid by terrorist American forces in Iraq, which took place on direct order of US President Donald Trump.
In a meeting in Tehran on Monday with his visiting Venezuelan counterpart, Jorge Arreaza, Zarif said, “Lt. Gen. Qassem Soleimani was a prominent figure of the resistance front, which continues to inspire resistance even after his martyrdom.”
He thanked the Venezuelan government and nation for their expression of sympathy with Iran after the heartbreaking assassination of General Soleimani and the recent downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane near the Iranian capital by mistake.
The top Iranian diplomat said the spontaneous turnout of huge masses of people from countries across the world in ceremonies held to commemorate the commander's martyrdom showed their hatred of the US terrorist move.
Zarif added that huge crowds of Iranian mourners attended the funeral processions of the assassinated commander, calling for a “legitimate” measure to be taken to counter the US bullying.
On January 3, the United States assassinated Lt. Gen. Soleimani, among others, in an air raid on an airport in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.
Soleimani has earned reputation as West Asia’s most revered anti-terror commander due to his indispensable contribution to defeating terrorist outfits such as Daesh across the region.
The strike also led to the martyrdom of second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis along with eight other Iranians and Iraqis.
In retaliation, the IRGC fired volleys of ballistic missiles on January 8 at the Ain al-Assad air base in the western Iraqi province of Anbar, which housed US forces.
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said on Friday that the assassination of the top Iranian commander disgraced the US as it had to own up to the "terrorist" action and see its image dealt a blow by Iran's retaliation.
"The day the missiles of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps crushed the US base is one of the days of God. The Guards' response was a major blow to America's fearsome superpower image," the Leader told a huge crowd in Tehran Friday.
On January 8, Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 crashed outside Tehran's Imam Khomeini International Airport with 167 passengers and nine crewmembers on board moments after takeoff.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic said on January 11 that the plane had flown close to a sensitive military site and been brought down due to human error "at a time of crisis caused by US adventurism."
When the incident took place, Iran's air defense forces were put on the highest level of alert following the IRGC missile attacks against the US base in Iraq in retaliation for the assassination of general Soleimani.
The Venezuelan foreign minister, for his part, offered his condolences to the Iranian government and nation over the two tragic incidents.