TEHRAN – President Ebrahim Raisi pledged revenge against Donald Trump if the former U.S. president is not tried over the assassination of Lt. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, as Iran and other countries marked two years since the commander’s martyrdom.
“The aggressor, murderer and main culprit - the then president of the United States - must be tried and judged under the (Islamic) law of retribution, and God’s ruling must be carried out against him,” Raisi said.
“It would be ok if the trial of Mr Trump, (former secretary of State Mike) Pompeo and other criminals was held in a fair court where their horrible crimes were addressed and they faced justice for their actions,” he added.
“Otherwise, I will tell all U.S. leaders that without a doubt the hand of revenge will emerge from the sleeve of the Muslim nation.”
In Lebanon, Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said, “The perpetrators of this crime will be dealt with for their actions in this world before the hereafter. This is the promise of the revolutionaries and the free, and it is not the only promise of the Iranians.”
“This crime does not need to be investigated to determine its perpetrator. The United States has officially claimed responsibility for the crime,” he added.
Nasrallah said the United States committed various crimes against Iraq before martyring Gen. Soleimani.
“Everyone remembers the crimes at Abu Ghraib prison. The role of the United States in the formation of Daesh is undeniable and it is complicit in all Daesh crimes.
“The United States invented Daesh to bring its army back to Iraq. America is a murderer and a hypocrite which is unique in history,” he added.
Iran, Nasrallah said, was the first country that stood by the Iraqi people against Daesh which the United States had brought to Iraq.
“The security that Iraq now enjoys is owed to the blood of the martyrs. Martyr Soleimani protected and defended Iraq, and if Iraq enjoys good security and stability today, it is thanks to the blood of the martyrs.”
Nasrallah also said. “It is not fair to compare the killer America with the Iranians who supported Iraq. The same is true of Saudi Arabia.”
“The comparison between Saudi Arabia and Iran is not fair either; Saudi Arabia sent suicide bombers and suicide vehicles to kill the Iraqi people and Iran sent its children there to defend the Iraqi people,” he added.
In Tehran, President Raisi was addressing tens of thousands
at the Iranian capital’s biggest prayer hall, at Iran’s main event to mark Gen. Soleimani’s martyrdom anniversary during a week of commemorations.
Participants held national flags and portraits of the martyred commander, national TV showed.
President Raisi called Soleimani a symbol of the Iranian revolution and of “bravery and rationality”.
Gen. Soleimani, former commander of the Quds Force was martyred along with his Iraqi trenchmate Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, in a U.S. drone strike near Bagdad’s airport on January 3, 2020.
Five days later, Iran retaliated by firing missiles at a U.S. airbase in Ain al-Assad housing American troops in Iraq, and another near Arbil in the north, which left at least 110 U.S. troops suffering traumatic brain injuries from the blasts.
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said at the time that the retaliation was the “first slap”.
President Raisi echoed the Leader’s remarks that “Martyr Soleimani is more dangerous to the enemies than Commander Soleimani”, because the likes of Soleimani will rise in the future.
“The secret of General Soleimani’s victory was his fear of God,” the president said, adding the top Iranian commander was aware of the United States’ military capabilities but he strongly believed that “the U.S. cannot do a damn thing”.
The president described General Soleimani as a “revolutionary commander that belonged to no political grouping”, whose main concern was to save Islam and Muslims, sought the elimination of evil, corruption and oppression, and defended Sunnis, Shias, Palestinians, Lebanese, Yemenis, Izadis, Christians and all those who believed in the Abrahamic religions alike.
“Therefore, the most pressing issue for him was how to repel the enemy from the region and liberate the region,” the president added.
Iran’s foreign ministry said in a Twitter post on Friday that “the current U.S. government bears definitive international responsibility for this crime”.
Iranian judicial officials have communicated with authorities in nine countries after identifying 127 suspects in the case, including 74 U.S. nationals, Prosecutor-General Muhammad Jafar Montazeri told national television.
“The criminal former president (Trump) is at the top of the list,” he said.
On Sunday, Iran urged the United Nations Security Council in a letter to hold the United States and the occupying regime of Israel, which Tehran says was also involved in the assassination, to account.
In Iraq, people held a candle-lit vigil Sunday night at Baghdad airport to honor Hashd al-Sha’abi deputy leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis who was martyred along with Gen. Soleimani in the U.S. drone strike.
The night-time strike, ordered by Trump, hit a car in which Gen. Soleimani and Muhandis were travelling on the edge of the airport. The burnout shell of the vehicle remains displayed there.
Thousdands of Iraqis, including men and women who brought children, gathered at the site, to pay tribute to the martyred men.
Holding pictures of Gen. Soleimani and Abu Mahdi and Hashed flags, they lit candles that they left by the vehicle.
Iraqis had on Saturday gathered during a million-march rally in central Baghdad for initial commemorations.
Zeinab Soleimani, the daughter of the highly charismatic Iranian commander, addressed the vigil near Baghdad airport, renewing the pledge to avenge her father’s assassination.
“My father loved the Iraqi people from the bottom of his heart... He would ponder a lot about a strong Iraq,” she said, adding both her father and Abu Mahdi devoted their lives for the liberation of the Iraqi people.
“Tonight, we pledge to move closer, hand in hand and step by step, to the horizon of exacting harsh revenge on the enemies whose hands are stained with their blood,” she said.
Manar, the daughter of Abu Mahdi, also pledged revenge for the blood of the two commanders and their companions.
“We will take vengeance on the rulers of Saudi Arabia, who think that they can restore the Umayyad rule with their money,” referring to the tyrannical seventh century dynasty which dominated many Muslim countries of the region.
“We will take revenge for every drop of blood that was shed unjustly in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen,” she added.