TEHRAN (Dispatches) -- Iran’s Foreign Minister Muhammad Javad Zarif said Monday the late commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps’ Quds Force continues to inspire anti-U.S. resistance even after his martyrdom in an air raid by terrorist American forces in Iraq, which took place on direct order of U.S. President Donald Trump.
In a meeting here 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 the Middle East’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 U.S. forces.
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said on Friday that the assassination of the top Iranian commander disgraced the U.S. as it had to both 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 U.S. 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 here.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said Monday Iran reserves the right to target any country used for conspiracy and attack against Iran.
"As we had earlier stated, we will target any place used for conspiracy against Iran,” he said.
Mousavi also said Iran had notified Iraq of its attack on U.S. bases in advance.
"Iran has always wanted non-interference of foreign forces in the Iraqi territory, and once Iraq officially asked for Iran’s help, we provide assistance after notifying them,” he said.
He also praised the missile attacks carried out by the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) against the Ain al-Asad base, saying it was a decisive reaction to the "cowardly” U.S. assassination of the Iranian commander.
The Iranian mission to the United Nations has been tasked with legally pursuing the U.S. assassination, he added.