TEHRAN (Dispatches) -- Members of Iran’s Assembly of Experts on Monday re-elected Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati as the chairman of the body, which is empowered to appoint and dismiss the Leader of the Islamic Revolution and supervise his performance.
They also re-elected Ayatollah Muhammad Ali Movahedi Kermani as the first deputy and Ebrahim Raisi, who is also the head of the Judiciary, as the second deputy of the assembly.
Speaking at the event, Ayatollah Jannati paid homage to General Qassem Soleimani, who was assassinated during a U.S. strike in Iraq on January 3, 2020, directly ordered by former president Donald Trump.
"May God damn Trump and America and those who played a role in the assassination of this beloved man and made a nation suffer his loss,” he said.
The Americans did not dare respond to Iran’s attack against Ain al-Assad airbase in western Iraq, where U.S. forces were stationed, said Ayatollah Jannati, who is also the head of the Guardian Council, an oversight body which examines the qualifications of candidates in elections.
Five days after the assassination of General Soleimani, who was in Baghdad on an official visit at the time, Iran retaliated by firing dozens of missiles at Ain al-Assad air base in Al-Anbar Governorate, western Iraq, as well as another U.S. air base in Erbil, declaring that the attacks were part of its promised "tough revenge” for the assassination.
Trump, who had threatened to attack Iran’s positions in case of any attack by the Islamic Republic, backed down after Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) went on with the retaliation, which turned out to be a painful humiliation for him and his hawkish administration.
"Trump disgraced America and showed that they are not committed to anything,” Ayatollah Jannati said.
He noted that while the United States’ power is declining and coming to an end, Iran is gaining strength "and the future is ours.”
"Our strength comes from the strength of God, and the weakness of America is beyond our imagination,” he said, adding, "Today, they (American rulers) are at each other’s throats.”
Trump ordered the assassination of General Soleimani as part of his "maximum pressure” policy against Tehran, which included harsh economic sanctions and reckless military provocations. He also targeted top Iranian leaders, including Ayatollah Jannati, with sanctions. Back then, the senior cleric joked about the restrictions, saying he wouldn’t be able to visit the U.S. for Christmas anymore.
The Assembly of Experts also issued a statement at the conclusion of its eighth annual meet, stressing that Iran’s defense and missile capabilities will never be subject to negotiations.
The 88-member chamber also described renegotiations with the U.S. on what has been already agreed upon as a "red line” of the Islamic Republic, stressing that all
ranian organizations stand united in safeguarding the country’s dignity and independence against hostile plots.
The assembly further highlighted the failure of cruel U.S. sanctions and maximum pressure on the Islamic Republic, saying the Iranian nation’s resistance will remain unaffected, no matter whether or not the U.S. rejoins the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
The statement said any U.S. return to the JCPOA without practically lifting its sanctions would not only lack any benefit, but would also be detrimental.
The statement also called on the Iranian people to participate in the upcoming elections in June, hailing them as a venue for maximum participation of people in political and social decisions.
The next presidential election in June 2021 will be held simultaneously with council and midterm parliamentary and Assembly of Experts elections.