NEW YORK (Dispatches) – U.S. President Donald Trump ordered the assassination of top Iranian General Qassem Soleimani to sabotage de-escalation talks between Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates following a report by Mossad, The New York Times revealed on Thursday.
The paper reported that General Soleimani had been arranging talks in Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates in order to de-escalate tensions with Tehran.
According to the report, one such meeting took place last September in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates where a plane carrying "senior Iranian officials” landed for talks.
News of the meeting, which reached Washington only after it was notified by reports from American spy agencies, "set off alarms inside the White House”, the paper said.
A similar mediation attempt, also arranged by Gen. Soleimani, was underway between Tehran and Riyadh using Iraqi and Pakistani intermediaries, it added.
The developments had greatly concerned the occupying regime of Israel, which had been trying to push the Trump administration to exert more pressure on Tehran, the Times said.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo then traveled to Occupied
Palestine to meet Mossad chief Yossi Cohen in October, where he was briefed on Iran’s de-escalation talks with Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Cohen warned Pompeo that Tehran was effectively on the verge of achieving its "primary goal” of breaking up the so-called "anti-Iran” alliance.
In early January, General Soleimani was assassinated on Trump’s order while on a formal visit to Baghdad.
According to former Iraqi prime minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi, General Soleimani was due to formally meet him and carrying Tehran’s response to a message from Riyadh regarding de-escalation talks.
Following the attack, the Trump administration claimed that the assassination came after a rocket attack on a U.S. base in Iraq killed a civilian contractor and that Gen. Soleimani was an "imminent threat” to U.S. citizens.
Many U.S. politicians have rejected the claims and questioned why the Trump administration has failed to provide any evidence backing its actions.
The chairman of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee on Friday blasted the Trump administration for claiming in a new report that it had authority to order the assassination under Congress’s authorization in 2002 for the use of military force against Iraq.
Rep. Eliot Engel, the committee’s chairman, argued that the administration’s new report to Congress about the Jan. 3 attack "directly contradicts the President’s false assertion that he attacked Iran to prevent an imminent attack against United States personnel and embassies.”
"The administration’s explanation in this report makes no mention of any imminent threat and shows that the justification the President offered to the American people was false, plain and simple,” said Engel in a prepared statement.
He and other Democrats already were skeptical about Trump’s legal rationale for the attack without prior authorization from Congress.
The New York Times on Thursday also revealed that entirely different considerations, such as Israel’s push to undermine Iran’s attempts at peace with its regional neighbors, were behind the assassination.
According to the report, the assassination marks yet another miscalculation by the Trump administration.