HOW ARE IRAN AND THE “AXIS OF THE RESISTANCE” AFFECTED BY THE US ASSASSINATION OF SOLEIMANI?

 

The US President Donald Trump assassinated the commander of the “Axis of the Resistance”, the (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps) IRGC – Quds Brigade Major General Qassem Soleimani at Baghdad airport with little consideration of the consequences of this targeted killing. It is not to be excluded that the US administration considered the assassination would reflect positively on its Middle Eastern policy. Or perhaps the US officials believed the killing of Sardar Soleimani would weaken the “Axis of the Resistance”: once deprived of their leader, Iran’s partners’ capabilities in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen would be reduced. Is this assessment accurate?

A high-ranking source within this “Axis of the Resistance” said “Sardar Soleimani was the direct and fast track link between the partners of Iran and the Leader of the Revolution Sayyed Ali Khamenei. However, the command on the ground belonged to the national leaders in every single separate country. These leaders have their leadership and practices, but common strategic objectives to fight against the US hegemony, stand up to the oppressors and to resist illegitimate foreign intervention in their affairs. These objectives have been in place for many years and will remain, with or without Sardar Soleimani”.

“In Lebanon, Hezbollah’s Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah leads Lebanon and is the one with a direct link to the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. He supports Gaza, Syria, Iraq and Yemen and has a heavy involvement in these fronts. However, he leads a large number of advisors and officers in charge of running all military, social and relationship affairs domestically and regionally. Many Iranian IRGC officers are also present on many of these fronts to support the needs of the “Axis of the Resistance” members in logistics, training and finance,” said the source.

In Syria, IRGC officers coordinate with Russia, the Syrian Army, the Syrian political leadership and all Iran’s allies fighting for the liberation of the country and for the defeat of the jihadists who flocked to Syria from all continents via Turkey, Iraq and Jordan. These officers have worked side by side with Iraqi, Lebanese, Syrian and other nationals who are part of the “Axis of the Resistance”. They have offered the Syrian government the needed support to defeat the “Islamic State” (ISIS/IS/ISIL) and al-Qaeda and other jihadists or those of similar ideologies in most of the country – with the exception of north-east Syria, which is under US occupation forces. These IRGC officers have their objectives and the means to achieve a target already agreed and in place for years. The absence of Sardar Soleimani will hardly affect these forces and their plans.

Front left: President Rouhani, Sayyed Khamenei, IRGC-Quds Chief Ismail Qaani

In Iraq, over 100 Iranian IRGC officers have been operating in the country at the official request of the Iraqi government, to defeat ISIS. They served jointly with the Iraqi forces and were involved in supplying the country with weapons, intelligence and training after the fall of a third of Iraq into the hands of ISIS in mid-2014. It was striking and shocking to see the Iraqi Army, armed and trained by US forces for over ten years, abandoning its positions and fleeing the northern Iraqi cities. Iranian support with its robust ideology (with one of its allies, motivating them to fight ISIS) was efficient in Syria; thus, it was necessary to transmit this to the Iraqis so they could stand, fight, and defeat ISIS.

The Lebanese Hezbollah is present in Syria and Yemen, and also in Iraq. The Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki asked Sayyed Nasrallah to provide his country with officers to stand against ISIS. Dozens of Hezbollah officers operate in Iraq and will be ready to support the Iraqis if the US forces refuse to leave the country. They will abide by and enforce the decision of the Parliament that the US must leave by end January 2021. Hezbollah’s long warfare experience has resulted in painful experiences with the US forces in Lebanon and Iraq throughout several decades and has not been forgotten.

Sayyed Nasrallah, in his latest speech, revealed the presence in mid-2014 of Hezbollah officials in Kurdistan to support the Iraqi Kurds against ISIS. This was when the same Kurdish Leader Masoud Barzani announced that it was due to Iran that the Kurds received weapons to defend themselves when the US refused to help Iraq for many months after ISIS expanded its control in northern Iraq.

The Hezbollah leaders did not disclose the continuous visits of Kurdish representatives to Lebanon to meet Hezbollah officials. In fact, Iraqi Sunni and Shia officials, ministers and political leaders regularly visit Lebanon to meet Hezbollah officials and its leader. Hezbollah, like Iran, plays an essential role in easing the dialogue between Iraqis when these find it difficult to overcome their differences together.

Sayyed Ali Khamenei and IRGC General Ismail Qaani during the Iraq-Iran war

The reason why Sayyed Nasrallah revealed the presence of his officers in Kurdistan when meeting Masoud Barzani is a clear message to the world that the “Axis of the Resistance” doesn’t depend on one single person. Indeed, Sayyed Nasrallah is showing the unity which reigns among this front, with or without Sardar Soleimani. Barzani is part of Iraq, and Kurdistan expressed its readiness to abide by the decision of the Iraqi Parliament to seek the US forces’ departure from the country because the Kurds are not detached from the central government but part of it.

Prior to his assassination, Sardar Soleimani prepared the ground to be followed (if killed on the battlefield, for example) and asked Iranian officials to nominate General Ismail Qaani as his replacement. The Leader of the revolution Sayyed Ali Khamenei ordered Soleimani’s wish to be fulfilled and to keep the plans and objectives already in place as they were. Sayyed Khamenei, according to the source, ordered an “increase in support for the Palestinians and, in particular, to all allies where US forces are present.”

Sardar Soleimani was looking for his death by his enemies and got what he wished for. He was aware that the “Axis of the Resistance” is highly aware of its objectives. Those among the “Axis of the Resistance” who have a robust internal front are well-established and on track. The problem was mainly in Iraq. But it seems the actions of the US have managed to bring Iraqi factions together- by assassinating the two commanders. Sardar Soleimani could have never expected a rapid achievement of this kind. Anti-US Iraqis are preparing this coming Friday to express their rejection of the US forces present in their country.

Sayyed Ali Khamenei, in his Friday prayers last week, the first for eight years, set up a road map for the “Axis of the Resistance”: push the US forces out of the Middle East and support Palestine.

Iran general Ismail Qaani with Hamas Leader Ismail Haniya and various Palestinian leaders in Tehran.

All Palestinian groups, including Hamas, were present at Sardar Soleimani’s funeral in Iran and met with General Qaani who promised, “not only to continue support but to increase it according to Sayyed Khamenei’s request,” said the source. Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas Leader, said from Tehran: “Soleimani is the martyr of Jerusalem”.

Many Iraqi commanders were present at the meeting with General Qaani. Most of these have a long record of hostility towards US forces in Iraq during the occupation period (2003-2011). Their commander, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandes, was assassinated with Sardar Soleimani and they are seeking revenge. Those leaders have enough motivation to attack the US forces, who have violated the Iraq-US training, cultural and armament agreement. At no time was the US administration given a license to kill in Iraq by the government of Baghdad.

The Iraqi Parliament has spoken: and the assassination of Sardar Soleimani has indeed fallen within the ultimate objectives of the “Axis of the Resistance”. The Iraqi caretaker Prime Minister has officially informed all members of the Coalition Forces in Iraq that “their presence, including that of NATO, is now no longer required in Iraq”. They have one year to leave. But that absolutely does not exclude the Iraqi need to avenge their commanders.

Palestine constitutes the second objective, as quoted by Sayyed Khamenei. We cannot exclude a considerable boost of support for the Palestinians, much more than the actually existing one. Iran is determined to support the Sunni Palestinians in their objective to have a state of their own in Palestine. The man – Soleimani – is gone and is replaceable like any other man: but the level of commitment to goals has increased. It is hard to imagine the “Axis of the Resistance” remaining idle without engaging themselves somehow in the US Presidential campaign. So, the remainder of 2020 is expected to be hot.


By Elijah J. Magnier
Source: Elijah J. Magnier

Iran’s Cultural Attaché in Lebanon: Soleimani Was Transnational, Multi-dimensional Personality that Scared Trump

Iran’s Cultural Attaché in Lebanon: Soleimani Was Transnational, Multi-dimensional Personality that Scared Trump

By Nour Rida

The martyrdom of Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani has created a ripple effect in Iran and the region, still being the talk of the town.

It is the political dimension of his assassination that is mostly discussed in the media. However, it is important to note that the martyr, was not merely a military personnel despite the fact that most of his pictures come in army clothing or on the battle fields. Gen. Soleimani was multi-dimensional personality that scared Trump, he was unique, humane, and fought against imperialism and the colonialism of minds.

In an interview with al-Ahed news, the Cultural attaché of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Lebanon, Dr. Abbas Khameyar said that media has not shed enough light on the reality behind martyr Soleimani’s personality, which he described as “transnational”. He assured that when he was alive, he foiled all attempts of dissecting the region and stood in face of all hegemonic schemes.

Military serves to protect civilization

“We should pay attention to the different dimensions of General Soleimani’s personality. He wore his military clothing most of the time, he was in the battlefields among the soldiers fighting Takfiri groups in the region. However he was like a shelter or umbrella protecting Iran’s civilization and culture,” Dr. Khameyar said.

He noted “When we talk about Iran and the major accomplishments of the Islamic Republic, the first thing that comes to the mind of people is: military accomplishments. Of course we confirm that Iran’s accomplishments and capabilities on the military level are amazing, but it is not the end. This strong military that Iran has built over a period of time and with perseverance is in fact a force of deterrence and serves as protection to all other accomplishments. In other words, the military was never a goal that Iran sought to reach, it is a means by which it protects its culture, civilizations, existence, sovereignty and other. It is a power of deterrence that protects Iranian accomplishments in the different scientific fields.”

The diplomat underscored that the military character of Hajj Qassem holds a lot of dimensions within its folds. He had a mission to protect Iran’s humanitarian, cultural and civilizational existence as well as its Islamic civilization. In fact, Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei stresses this aspect. “The battle between us and our foes is a battle of civilization par excellence. We have to realize that holding on to our civilization, customs and traditions is an integral part of our identity and existence and that the military serves to protect it.”

Targeting Civilization

Touching on US President Donald Trump’s threat to target 52 historical sites, Dr. Khameyar highlighted that “the uncivilized opponent knows that targeting our civilization hurts, and so he does it on purpose.”

Since the Islamic Republic of Iran decided to free itself from the manacles of American supremacy in 1979, the US has become so occupied with attempts to destroy Iran’s civilization and culture. This is not an unplanned thing, it is calculated and intentional. Iran’s heritage is the oldest among many across the world. It also enjoys a strategic geographical position which makes the US more obsessed about controlling it.

Targeting cultural heritage: a mindset

According to Dr. Khameyar, “Trump’s words and his threat to target Iran’s sites was not a slip of a tongue, but rather part of the hegemonic mindset. To understand this, we can look at historians like Bernard Lewis and the strong impact he had on the US decision-making. He wrote a paper in 1979 under the title “Iran in history” and presented it in Tel Aviv.”

Dr. Khameyar pointed out that “this policy of dissecting the region and ruining its heritage and culture was seen across the region in what some call the ‘Arab Spring’ and others call the ‘Arab awakening’; names do not really matter and it is the legacy of Lewis and people who have adopted his thought. We have seen the destruction of museums and libraries in Iraq after the collapse of the Saddam regime, and the same scenario in Egypt. The head of the National Museum of Iraq told me in person that in less than 36 hours after chaos spread when the Saddam regime collapsed, more than 15 thousand antiquities were either destroyed or stolen. Also in Syria, the Takfiri groups adopted the same policy of destroying cultural and historical heritage in Aleppo, Palmyra and other cities. If it were not for the popular and youth groups that quickly took action, all this heritage would have been destroyed.”

The diplomat noted “Lewis says Iran is one of the civilized countries that was immune in face of any attempts to ruin its heritage and culture for at least two centuries. His advice to confront such countries like Iran is through division, so Iran should be divided into a great Baluchistan, a great Khorasan, a great Azerbaijan and so on. ”

Bernard Lewis, a British-American historian of the Middle East, has been formidably influential in America – his policy ideas have towered over presidents, policy-makers and think-tanks, and they still do. For those who might not have known this: The “Bernard Lewis plan”, as it came to be known, was a design to fracture all the countries in the region – from the Middle East to India – along ethnic, sectarian and linguistic lines. A radical Balkanization of the region. He seems to be Mike Pompeo’s intellectual hero. For example, Pompeo says: “I met him only once, but read much of what he wrote. I owe a great deal of my understanding of the Middle East to his work … He was also a man who believed, as I do, that Americans must be more confident in the greatness of our country, not less.”

Soleimani preserves heritage, humanity

Assassinating General Soleimani comes within the same context.

Dr. Khameyar added “The military façade of general Soleimani is indeed a shield that protects and preserves the humanitarian, cultural and historical heritage of Iran and the region. His personality was also multi-dimensional. He was on the battlefields to help fight terrorist groups, but he was also among the poor inside Iran, trying his best to help them out. During the floods that struck Khuzestan last year, he was among the first to be there and provide help. Tens of stories have emerged after his assassination, showing a person of modesty, chastity and humanity and this is what made him so popular among the Iranians and this is why millions poured down the streets to participate in his memorial.”

The Iranian diplomat explained that the people called him the general of hearts and love. “This has its roots in Iranian poetry and literature. When we talk about “Eshq”, meaning love, the great poets of Persia cross our minds like Hafez and Rumi. They are internationally well-known for their ingenious and unique works. And when we mention the Shahnameh, which is the book of epics we talk about heroic characters. Today, General Soleimani is an epic, a real one though. He also exemplifies Karbala, which is an integral part of Iranian and Islamic culture and history.”

Demonstrations renew Iran legitimacy

Dr. Khameyar underlined that the millions of people who attended his funeral or headed to the streets in all the Iranian cities in fact were like a sea of human beings, with its tides extending outside the borders of Iran as well.

“The huge ceremonies in which most Iranians participated represents another referendum to the legitimacy of the Iranian government. It is also like a consensus and approval to the resistance front or what is known as the axis of resistance in the region. Despite the desperate American attempts to destroy Iran and despite the sanctions, pressure and different means adopted to harm Iran, the martyrdom of Hajj Qassem fixated the resistance front and united the Iranian people. Today, we can say that the resistance has become globalized, since martyr Soleimani is a transnational personality that transcends borders and geography.”

A smart-power personality

Describing the personality of martyr General Soleimani, Dr. Khameyar said that we can perhaps call it a smart-power personality; it combines both soft and hard power together.

“This smart-power is demonstrated in a few things: the spread of the culture of resistance among Iranians and other peoples of the region, the strengthening of the popular will, the persistence and perseverance of the Iranians in face of all difficulties and the rising voices “We are all Soleimani” across Iran and the region. It is also exemplified in what happened in the Iraqi parliament, where MPs urged US forces to leave the Iraqi territory, and in the marches of millions of people also outside Iran. Now hard power comes in the form of the missiles that precisely targeted the Ain al-Assad US military base located in Iraq, and maybe new strikes in the future to deter the occupiers, who knows. This military strike was not intended to kill, it was a clear message that US hegemony can be defeated, and that the US army is not invincible.”

Dr. Khameyar also noted “Today, the resistance axis is globalized, and the resistance forces are stronger on all levels. Again, when we say resistance we do not mean a military resistance only, we rather mean an axis of resistance that is developed on all levels.”

Describing General Soleimani with Iranian poetry, Dr. Khameyar said the poem of “The Breath of the Christ” fits him really well.

Hafez said “I am a hole in a flute that the Christ’s breath moves through-listen to this music.” The Music of the Divine, of the breath of Christ – Music that melts and opens the heart and frees the soul of any willing to listen.

For the Arabic version click here

“Death to the Islamic Republic” they chant now- and they call themselves Iranians

January 18, 2020

By Aram Mirzaei for The Saker Blog

Nobody has escaped the news of the so called “popular demonstrations” in Iran during the recent days. Hundreds of thousands of articles, updates and tweets have been made on this matter, and many have talked about what the reasons behind these protests have been. Many videos show groups so called Iranians tearing down the pictures of Martyr Qassem Soleimani, while others chant “death to the Islamic Republic” and “death to Khamenei”. Thousands of such people have appeared across Iran and many of those Iranians outside of Iran cheer on them while the Empire takes every chance to attack Iran as these protests are used by the Western Media to wage psychological warfare on the Islamic Republic.

This marks a new stage in the audacity of dissent in the Islamic Republic. In order to understand what I’m talking about; we should take a trip back in history to recognize the sworn enemies of the Islamic Republic. The Islamic Republic has since the beginning of its existence had two mortal, existential enemies – the MEK cult and the Monarchists. For a while, the Communists were a force too to be reckoned, especially in the 1980’s.

The MEK cultists, advocating “Islamic Marxism”, seek to replace the Islamic Republic’s old and conservative policies with their “modern interpretation”. In their quest for power, they’ve committed heinous acts, such as terrorism and treason, to the point where even the US, Canada and the European Union, enemies of Iran, had listed them as a terrorist organization. They have since lifted the designation and have been grooming them into becoming a “viable opposition group”.

After the 1979 revolution, the Islamic Republic had managed to drive away or execute most Monarchists and many of their supporters went into exile in the West, mostly the US, where they continued their opposition. With most of Iran’s wealth taken away by the monarchists in exile, the Islamic Republic defended by a group of ill-trained and poorly equipped group of men calling themselves “Army of Guardians of the Islamic Revolution”, fought against internal and external enemies during most of the 1980’s. The invading Iraqi Army, Communist guerrilla groups, MEK cultists armed by the Saddam regime, and separatist groups were fought vigilantly during the entire war with neighboring Iraq.

One by one, they were defeated and driven out of the country, into exile and the Islamic Republic won the battle for its survival. The communists were all but destroyed and driven into exile and the once powerful Tudeh party was split into several factions. The war ended when the MEK terrorist group were defeated in 1988, after they had been armed by the Saddam regime and launched an invasion into their own country. Saddam, who had been armed and supported by Western countries, including the US, was driven back from Iranian land and the war with Iraq resulted with a status quo ante bellum, and over a million dead Iranians. With the MEK driven back into Iraq, the Islamic Republic had survived this tremendous test and stood its ground and yet many more challenges stood in its way in the coming years. Only a year after the end of the war, the founder of the Islamic Republic, Imam Khomeini passed away, leaving what many believed would be a vacuum for his successor to fill. The morning after Khomeini’s death, on June 4, 1989, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was elected as the new Leader of the Islamic Revolution despite not belonging to the rank of Marja (Grand Ayatollah), as required by the constitution, although this requirement was later removed through amendments to the constitution.

Throughout Khamenei’s rule, several rounds of rather large and widespread protests have struck Iran. The first significant one occurred in 1999, when students in Tehran protested against the closure of a reformist newspaper. The next challenge was the 2009 presidential elections and the aftermath of widespread protests due to the alleged election fraud in which Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected president for a second term. Both of these incidents were marked by violence and disaffection among the protesters, yet they never chanted against the Islamic Republic, they never rioted and attacked security forces in the ways that we have seen recently. In both of those protests, the protestors were pro-reformist and chanted in support for ex-president Mohammad Khatami and the presidential candidate of the 2008 elections – Mir Hossein Mousavi.

Yes, the 2009 protests were foreign backed, but not in the same obvious ways that we see today. For the first time in November 2019, I witnessed slogans calling for the death of Khamenei and outright regime change. The heinous act of tearing down Martyr Qassem Soleimani’s show these people’s absolute contempt for the Islamic Republic, but it also shows something else: that they are not protesting due to poor living standards or lack of freedom. It would make absolutely no sense to tear down the poster of Martyr Soleimani if they were poor or feeling oppressed since Martyr Soleimani’s struggle was mainly conducted abroad in an effort to liberate the region from the hands of tyrants. In fact, Iranians have Martyr Soleimani and the Quds Force to thank for their own safety from terrorism, as Imam Khamenei once said: “If we were not fighting Daesh in Aleppo or Mosul, we would be fighting them in the streets of Kermanshah and Tehran.”

If poverty was an issue, then the government reform to the gas subsidies should be welcomed by the poor since that money will now go to the poorest families in Iran. Yet the same “protestors” instead turned to rioting and set fire on banks and government buildings, rather strange isn’t it?

One should also take note of some curious things this time around. We all know that Iran announced that it accidentally shot down the Ukrainian airliner. On that same day, small anti-government began to spring up in Tehran, mainly led by university students, chanting “death to the liars”, the only problem is that nobody lied. Iran admitted to have accidentally downed that plane. Yes. it took a few days, because there had to be an investigation first before drawing any conclusions, despite whatever evidence other countries supposedly had. It’s not like these countries, allies of the Terrorist Empire, haven’t lied and pinned incidents on Iran before…

In any case, the media have been very anxious for this news. Barely any mention on the Yellow vests and the violent protests in Chile, instead they focus on a couple of thousands of protestors, with rather shady agendas, compared to the 25 million Iranians that mourned for Qassem Soleimani, and portray it as if three poster-tearing “free Iranians” represent the true Iranian sentiment for Martyr Soleimani.

Interestingly, the calls for foreign intervention among these protestors and their supporters abroad is on the rise. The so called protestors and their Twitter fans also deliberately spread videos of these “proud Iranians” who refused to step on the US and Israeli flags, as a way to bait US public support for “American help” while chanting that “the US and Israel aren’t our enemies, our enemy is right here”. There is no question as to who and what these so-called protestors represent. On some videos one can hear pro-Monarchist and pro-MEK chants. MEK communiques such as their social media platforms are filled with active propaganda and calls for regime change. Threats are constantly issued to the Islamic Republic along with instructions and encouragement to attack security forces and military bases. These people openly stand with the Terrorist Empire against their own country – and they dare to call themselves Iranians.

The Monarchists, MEK and the Terrorist Empire want people to believe that Monarchist Iran was a modern and prosperous country. In truth, Iran was a country in decline during the monarchy era, starting from the era of the Qajar dynasty in the late 1700s to the early 1900s, and continuing with the Pahlavi era to 1979. It was a country were up until 1978, 60% of the population were illiterate, where large parts of the population lived without electricity or running water, and a large majority of the country’s oil belonged to foreign powers, with a leader who had come to power through a foreign backed coup. Only the Islamic Republic has successfully ended 200 years of humiliation in the face of foreigners. Only the Islamic Republic can defend Iran from US colonialism. Only the Islamic Republic can lead the region into a rebellion with the aim of kicking the US out of West Asia. They have done more for Iran than any king has since the fall of the Great Safavid dynasty. True Iranian Patriots would wish for an independent Iran where she has retained her culture, instead of having switched it out for Western culture.

This is the Islamic Awakening. For the first time in more than a century, the Islamic world can regain its long lost honor and free itself from the shackles of colonialism and imperialism. But only with the Islamic Republic..

مشعل لهنية: لو كنت مكانك لشاركت في عزاء سليماني

فلسطين الأخبار الأربعاء 22 كانون الثاني 2020

لتقى هنية ومشعل في الدوحة خلال الأيام الماضية أكثر من مرة (الأخبار)

ضمن الحملة المتواصلة على «حركة المقاومة الإسلامية» (حماس)، أشاعت مواقع «فتحاوية» وأخرى مدعومة من السعودية وجود خلاف بين قيادات الحركة، ولا سيما بين رئيس المكتب السياسي الأسبق خالد مشعل، والرئيس الحالي إسماعيل هنية، عنوانُه مشاركة الأخير في عزاء الشهيد الفريق قاسم سليماني في العاصمة الإيرانية طهران، وإلقاؤه كلمة هناك. تعقيباً على ذلك، يقول مصدر مقرّب من قيادة «حماس» إن مشعل «على عكس ما يروَّج تماماً، مقتنعٌ بأهمية زيارة وفد الحركة لطهران وتقديم التعزية باستشهاد سليماني»، وإنه داعم لـ«خطوات قيادة الحركة (الحالية) في هذا الاتجاه»، علماً بأن مشعل عضو في مجلس الشورى الحركي. ويضيف المصدر: «مشعل قال في اللقاءات الأخيرة إنه لا يَسَع الأخ أبو العبد (هنية) إلا أن يترأس بنفسه الوفد في هذه الزيارة، ولو كنت مكانه لفعلت ما فعل».

وكان موقع «إندبندنت عربية»، المموّل سعودياً، نقل عن مصدر وصفه بأنه في قيادة «حماس» أن مشعل وَصَف تصرّف هنية بأنه «خطأ استراتيجي»، وقال إنه «كان يكفي أن ترسل الحركة وفداً متواضعاً لمثل هذا الحدث، خاصة أن هنية تعهّد للمصريين بعدم زيارة طهران» قبل خروجه من القاهرة. وأضاف المصدر نفسه، بحسب الموقع، أن أوساطاً في الحركة رأت أن «تصرفّ هنية ومَن حوله أحرج حماس في عدد من المحافل المهمة، خاصة مصر والأردن والسعودية، وكان على القيادة أن تفكّر ملياً قبل الهرولة إلى جنازة سليماني». لكن المصدر المقرّب من قيادة الحركة ذكر، في حديث إلى «الأخبار»، أن مشعل قدّم بنفسه التعزية بسليماني عبر اتصالات هاتفية مع وزير الخارجية الإيراني محمد جواد ظريف، والأمين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصر الله، ونائب سليماني الذي عُيّن خلفاً له العميد إسماعيل قاآني، في أعقاب الاغتيال مباشرة، لافتاً في الوقت نفسه إلى لقاءات متواصلة بين هنية ومشعل في الدوحة.

كان هناك إجماع في «حماس»، ولا سيما لدى العسكر، على خطوة هنية

وعلمت «الأخبار» أنه منذ إعلان مراسم التشييع، كان التوجّه في غزة، ولا سيما لدى قيادة الذراع العسكرية للحركة، «كتائب القسام»، هو ضرورة أن يترأس هنية الوفد الذاهب إلى طهران للتعزية، فضلاً عن إجماع باقي أعضاء المكتب السياسي في القطاع على ذلك. وإلى جانب الحديث عن خلاف «حمساوي» في هذا الشأن، روّجت المواقع القريبة من «فتح»، ولا سيما من القيادي المفصول من الحركة محمد دحلان، أن حركات سلفية هدّدت بتنفيذ عمليات في غزة جرّاء مشاركة «حماس» في التشييع، وأن أجهزة الأمن التابعة للحركة بدأت حملة ضدّ تلك الحركات، وهو ما يردّ عليه المصدر بالقول إن «متابعة ملفّ المنحرفين فكرياً متواصل بغضّ النظر عن هذه الإشاعات».
في غضون ذلك، قال نائب رئيس الحركة في غزة، خليل الحية، إن «حماس لا تقبل بديلاً من مصر لإدارة القضايا الوطنية الفلسطينية»، لكنه أقرّ، خلال لقاء مع الإعلاميين في غزة أمس، بأن «مصر اتخذت موقفاً من زيارتنا إلى إيران»، مستدركاً بأن «المصريين عقلانيون وتجاوزنا الأمر معهم… لا علاقة لأزمة الغاز المصري (والبضاعة) بزيارة هنية، بل هي لأسباب وحسابات تجارية بحتة». وأضاف: «نختلف ونتفق مع مصر، والسياسة تتطلّب ذلك، ونحن نعمل على ترميم العلاقات مع كلّ الدول والكيانات». ووسط أنباء عن طلب هنية من الرياض المشاركة في التعزية بوفاة الأمير بندر بن عبد العزيز الذي توفي أمس، تتواصل الانتقادات الفصائلية والشعبية لمشاركته في عزاء سلطان عمان الراحل قابوس بن سعيد، خاصة أن الأخير استقبل رئيس حكومة العدو، بنيامين نتنياهو، قبل مدة قصيرة. لكن مسؤولين في الحركة دافعوا عن المشاركة بوصفها ضمن خطة العلاقات العامة التي يعملون عليها. وسبق لطاهر النونو، وهو المستشار الإعلامي لهنية، أن أكد قبل يومين أن جولة الأخير «تسير كما تمّ الإعداد لها في شأن الأهداف التي رصدناها، وهي حشد الدعم السياسي لقضيتنا، وتعزيز صمود شعبنا، والالتفاف حول القدس». ونفى النونو «أيّ توتر مع الأشقاء في مصر، لأن العلاقة معها محورية، ووصلت إلى حالة من الاستقرار والتعاون والتنسيق في الملفات كافة… علاقة الحركة مع أيّ دولة لا تتمّ على حساب أو ضدّ أيّ دولة أخرى».

فيدوات متعلقة

Iran: “Assassinations will make us stronger” – Hamas leader at Soleimani funeral
Palestinians in Gaza pay tribute to slain Iranian commander
Hamas Leader Yahya Sinwar: If Not for Iran’s Support, We Would Not Have Our Missile Capabilities

مقالات متعلقة

Imam Khamenei: IRGC’s Quds Force Knows No Frontiers, Supports Oppressed People

January 17, 2020

Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution in Iran Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei stressed on Friday that the mass funeral of ‘great martyr’ Qassem Suleimani represented Iranian people’s pledge of allegiance to the path of late Imam Khomeni’s path.

In a Friday sermon for the first time in eight years, Imam Khamenei lashed out at European signatories of the nuclear deal, affirming that Germany, France, UK (known as E3) cannot bring the Iranian nation to its knees.

Retaliation to Suleimani Assassination

He described the day when Iran retaliated to the US’ assassination of Qassem Suleimani as “one of God’s days.”

“The day when Iranian missiles hit US base in Iraq is one of God’s days. These days are for history, they are not ordinary ones,” his eminence told mass crowds at Imam Khomeini Mosalla in Tehran University.

It was God’s power that led to the magnificent presence of people and their tears and passion in streets for the funeral of Gen. Suleimani, said the Leader, noting that this shows God’s determination in the continuation of this path by the Iranian nation till the final victory.

Imam Khamenei praised Gen. Suleimani as “one of the most powerful commanders in countering terror in the region.”

He said that the American “did not dare to confront Suleimani face-to-face,” stressing that the Iranian missile strike on Ain Al-Asad base in Iraq has ruined US’ prestige and hegemony.

The US government assassinated Suleimani, not in the battlefield but a cowardly manner and they admitted their act of terror, this is a true disgrace for Washington, he added.

The Leader affirmed that the IRGC’s Quds Force “knows no frontiers, it shows up wherever oppressed people need it.”

Quds Force offered support to Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, as well as securing Iran, Imam Khamenei added.

His eminence stressed that the US lies when it voices support to Iranian people.

“American clowns claim they are standing behind Iranians but they all lie,” Imam Khamenei said, adding that American officials only seek to put their dagger inside the body the Iranian nation.

Ukrainian Plane and Nuclear Deal

Talking about the downing of Ukrainian plane over Tehran on January 8, Imam Khamenei said the “horrible tragedy” truly saddened the Iranian nation and broken their hearts, but noted that the enemies sought to overshadow martyrdom of Gen. Suleimani with the tragic incident.

The enemy became so happy with the unintentional downing of the plane because they thought that they had found a pretext to destroy Iran’s face but they will certainly fail, Imam Khamenei said.
Meanwhile, the Leader said that one of the other measures to overshadow Iran’s strong response to Arrogance was the statement by the European signatories that warned to bring back UN sanctions.

The Leader went on to say that Germany, France, UK provided Saddam with weapons during the war against Iran and that the European countries are serving the US interests.

“After US withdrawal from the nuclear deal, I advised our people not to trust the European states,” his eminence said, adding: “Mean E3 governments wants to bring Iran to its knees, they will fail to do so.”

“In the foreseeable future, enemies even won’t be able to threaten Iranian people,” Imam Khamenei stressed.

Arabic Speech

Imam Khamenei also delivered a separate Arabic Speech addressing Arab crowds. In the speech, he stressed that “huge efforts have been exerted in a bid to sue discord between Iranian, Iraqi people.”

“Martyrdom of Suleimani, Muhandis foiled discord scheme aimed against Iraqi, Iranian people,” Imam Khamnei said, referring to Deputy Commander of Iraq’s Hashd Shaabu paramilitary force Abu Mahdi AL-Muhandis who was martyred alongside Suleimani in the US strike on Baghdad on January 3.

“Destiny of the region relies on getting free from the US hegemony and liberating Palestine,” his eminence concluded his speech.

Source: Al-Manar English Website and Mehr News Agency

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Senior Hamas official: ‘Qasim Soleimani gave us everything Iran has to offer’

January 15, 2020

Original link: http://middleeastobserver.net/senior-hamas-official-qasim-soleimani-gave-us-everything-iran-has-to-offer/

(Please support MiddleEastObserver.net on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/MiddleEastObserver)


Description:

In an extended interview with Al-Mayadeen TV, senior Hamas official Dr. Mahmoud al-Zahar discusses the role of the late Iranian General Qasim Soleimani in supporting ‘Palestinian resistance groups’ and particularly his relationship with the Hamas movement.

The following translation contains keys excerpts from the interview.

Source: Al-Mayadeen TV

Date: 11-01-2020

Transcript:

The host:

Dr. Mahmoud al-Zahar, welcome back. There is no doubt that Hamas’ great solidarity with Iran regarding the martyrdom of General Qasem Soleimani has raised many questions and triggered analyses. So we are turning to you to get our facts straight. Has the martyrdom of Hajj, or rather General, Qasem Soleimani actually brought Iran and Hamas closer together and cemented their alliance, following periods of ups and downs in their relationship for regional reasons? Is that true?

Dr. al-Zahar:

Actually it has, but I would like to clarify – after saying in the name of Allah the Merciful the Compassionate, praise be to Allah, and peace and prayers be upon His prophet… I think that the relationship (between Iran and Hamas), according to my experience in this field, started in 1991 when a group was deported to Marj al-Zohour (in southern Lebanon). At the time, Iran sent civilian envoys to listen to the demands of Palestinians in the region, in order to support this group that stood at the borders of Palestine and was able to come back a year later. Therefore, Iran’s proxy groups and personalities dealing with this matter were known and plain to see. And they are still present to this day.

While the next significant moment was when Hamas took office in 2006 after the elections. As the minister of Foreign Affairs at the time, I visited Iran and met with all political parties and other officials. So our relationship deepened and their support increased not only in the military field, but also at the political level as they backed the government. After that, the relationship carried on until the shared vision become indisputable: the battle to free Palestine, is a real battle, a Qur’anic fact that might come true with cooperation, especially this cooperation that is not founded on short-term interests, but on a strategic dimension, i.e.  achieving comprehensive goals including the ending of the occupation and establishing a Palestinian State on the entire soil of Palestine. All of that while maintaining balanced, respectful relationships with all parties who helped to free Palestine. I think that this cause is not related only to Soleimani. Even though he had a crucial role, and was a very important personality as he knew even the smallest details. Therefore, I think that our cause will not be affected. The only issue is finding the person who will be able fill in Soleimani’s shoes during this period.

The host:

Abo Khaled, did the martyr General Qasem Soleimani ever visit the Gaza Strip? Have you ever met?

Dr. al-Zahar:

No, that is very hard. It is very difficult to come to Gaza. To get to there, there are only two ways: you can come either from Egypt or from the Israeli entity. Either way, that actually never happened. Not to my knowledge at least.

The host:

In a statement delivered yesterday, Hamas’ representative in Lebanon said that Soleimani visited the Gaza Strip multiple times.

Dr. al-Zahar:

I honestly have no information on that matter. I don’t know.

The host:

So maybe yes, maybe no..

Dr. al-Zahar:

Either way, it is a risk that Soleimani could assess. I don’t know. I don’t know everything. Some security and military issues are confidential, and only one or two people might know of them. But to my knowledge – I honestly don’t know.

The host:

Okay. Dr., have you ever met (Soleimani) in person? Do you have a personal relationship with him?

Dr. al-Zahar:

Yes, I have met him multiple times. I believe he highly appreciated the role Hamas has played in all areas. I have actually met him multiple times. And every time, I was more and more confident that this man, who named himself the commander of the Quds Force, attached his name to al-Quds because he was sincere in his support for the Palestinian cause, and for al-Quds in particular. He chose this title and lived up to it indeed. He was a man of his words. In fact, this man was ready to give, and has actually given everything the Islamic Republic can offer to support the Resistance’s cause.

The host:

In return for this support, has Iran ever asked you for anything, at the political or military levels? Or has it asked (Hamas) to adopt certain positions?

Dr. al-Zahar:That’s actually a very important question. Because the side wishing to weaken the Resistance project insists that Iran wants to use Hamas or the al-Qassam Brigades as proxy forces in her regional conflict. During the past period, we have never witnessed – nor did it cross our minds – that Iran might ask us for anything. Our long experience with them from 1991, as I have mentioned, until today, has never revealed, even for a moment, that Iran wants to use us for any cause beyond Palestine. Our whole energy was devoted (to our cause) and they were aware of that. Qasem Soleimani was one of many who insisted that the Palestinian cause should aim all its attention and forces at the occupation to free Palestine. Only after that, parties can sit down to manage their relationships. Some countries that have nothing to do with Palestine, and are fighting it, tried to claim that the Iranian intervention in Palestine serves Iran’s interests and not the interests of the Resistance. I testify before the Almighty Allah that over the past years, from 1991 until the past year, I have never felt, not for a second, that there was a single Iranian request made to the detriment of the Palestinian cause.

The host:Dr., regarding the relationship with the new IRGC’s Quds Force commander Ismail Qa’ani, reports state that Qa’ani met with a delegation from Hamas, and with the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic Sayyed Ali Khamenei… Have you looked at the results of these meetings? How does the relationship with the new commander seem to you? Do you think General Qa’ani will have the same abilities as General Soleimani, or will offer you the same cooperation Soleimani has offered you?

Dr. al-Zahar:

In fact, we should stress that the Iranian policy is not dependent on one person, not even on the president. The policy is decided by a system and a group of interventions that control the relationship between Iran and the Palestinian cause. I’ve told you that when I was assigned as a minister of Foreign Affairs in 2006, I met with President Ahmadinejad, the foreign minister, the martyr Qasem Soleimani, and a lot of officials. We were also invited to conferences. Each and every conference mentioned the same cause: the Palestinian cause, that is of central importance to Iran. This is how they’ve talked about it. We’ve heard about it in every forum and every place. This is what we have confirmed. This is also one of the key reasons for which we enjoy a good relationship with Iran. It is not a relationship where a party is taking advantage of another.

Therefore, this long experience at the political, diplomatic or security levels, and in terms of other aids and self-defense techniques (shows that this relationship) is not dependent on individuals. Even if Soleimani is gone, all the accomplishments we’ve made won’t be lost, and previous relationships will continue, that’s my opinion. I’ve actually never met Qa’ani and I don’t know if any of my brothers (colleagues) did, even though it is eminently logical to meet with the new commander of this force that has the honor, as every person, to be associated to al-Quds. As everyone knows the promised final battle is a Qur’anic fact. And everyone who takes part in this battle will not only change the geopolitics of the whole region, but will also, God willing, go to heaven.

The host:

According to the pictures taken in the funeral, there was a meeting between the Hamas delegation that went to Tehran to pay its respects, and Ismail Qaani. However, it is not clear if that meeting was just to show condolences, or it was an actual meeting with deliberations and acquaintances. I don’t know.

Dr. al-Zahar:

Of course, they should make deliberations and acquaintances. It’s also totally logical for Hamas to ask for the continuity of the relationship between not only Hamas but all Palestinian resistance forces especially in the Gaza Strip, and the important (Quds) Force and this country that supports the resistance project. This assassination is the biggest proof of the sincerity of Iran’s policy. If Iran was part of this group of hypocrites, and if it didn’t put pressure on the Israeli entity, and on the Western-Israeli interests related to Christian, Jewish and even Arab Zionism… if that was true, there wouldn’t be an assassination. The assassination was carried out because there were practical measures taken by the (Quds) Force and by Iran through its members, constituents and leaderships to support the Resistance project.

The host:

“My father’s blood will pave the way for us to pray in al-Quds”. Dr. al-Zahar, those are the words of a Muslim girl (Soleimani’s daughter) who lost her father, but is still talking about al-Quds, about Palestine, in Arabic and in front of a crowd of worshipers, while holding a weapon in her hand, even though she can’t be more than 20 years old. Dr. al-Zahar, what is your comment on such a scene? And how much does this scene problematise an notion which many tried to reinforce, and for which large sums of money was paid to transform it into public opinion. I am talking about the notion of sectarian division, and turning people who belong to different sects away from the causes that Muslim people, from Iran to Pakistan and Indonesia, are sympathetic towards.

Dr. al-Zahar:

First, allow me to offer my sincere condolences to this lady, the daughter of the man who devoted himself to Palestine. If Qasem Soleimani was not loyal to Palestine, his daughter would not have said such words. If his words were politically motivated and dishonest, his daughter would not have stressed (on the importance of the Palestinian cause) that she heard her father talking about time and time again. She became certain that he believes in freeing Palestine and in the promised final battle. Otherwise, she would not have come out, stood, held a weapon, and said those words. As the English saying goes: “like father like son”. Soleimani’s daughter, son, brother, etc. will all follow his footsteps. Therefore, may all our martyrs everywhere rest in peace.

The host: Amen.

Dr. al-Zahar:

Regarding the next part of the question. Please remind me what it was.

The host: The sectarian issue.

Dr. al-Zahar:

They have said that Iran is spending money to develop ideological centres in Palestine. I say that I dare anyone to come to the Gaza Strip, and find someone who converted to Shiism, or find a place, a center or an institution for the Shia. These (accusations) are spread only to create a rift between us. Why? Who are those? Does the Sunna (tradition of Prophet Muhammad) allow cooperation with the Israeli occupation? Does the Sunna allow giving money to the Israeli entity, and supporting Christian Zionism? Aren’t Muslims brothers, who shouldn’t let each other down? Muslims, whether Shia, Sunni, Kurdish, Afghan or Pakistani are brothers; regardless of their nationality, country, identity, or identity card. Muslims are brothers. Islam is both believed in the heart, and translated in the actions (of Muslims). Therefore, saying that Iran is seeking influence in Palestine is a lie. We dare anyone to say the opposite. We have never heard anyone asking for a price in return. (Iran) provided us with all kinds of support, even at the political level (to serve) the Palestinian cause. However, it never asked us for such a thing. And if anyone has (evidence), then I invite them to present it to the people for the truth to be revealed. But as a witness during this long period, from 1991 until this very moment, I assure you that the Iranian support to the Palestinian cause is altruistic. They, however, became certain that Hamas and the Palestinian resistance are absolutely serious about freeing Palestine and attaining the promised final battle.

The host:

I am sure you heard of, or followed up on the criticism that was directed at Hamas when its delegation, headed by Ismail Haniyeh, paid respects and participated in the funeral (of Soleimani), and after the speech delivered by Mr. Haniyeh who considered General Soleimani the ‘martyr of al-Quds’. Some of this criticism came from the Islamic movement (in the region) general speaking, not from Hamas and its personnel in particular. But rather from the Islamic community as a whole. How did you receive this criticism, or these voices, that questioned (Hamas’ loyalty), attacked it, and thought that it exaggerated its feelings?

Dr. al-Zahar:

In fact, the problem, or the problems, that aroused before were exaggerated, and some took a stand (against Iran) because of these problems. We were hoping that both sides, Sunni and Shia Muslims, make some steps to bridge the gap between the political – and not the sectarian – positions. Every human has his own beliefs, behavior, style and approach. But what brings us together is the saying: “there is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is His messenger”. I want – so that we don’t get deep into this subject and get drawn into disputes- I call upon Islamic scholars, Shia, Sunni and others, to hold a conference to settle the dispute and find solution, a common solution, for all the current disputes; and to advise Muslims, Shia, Sunni and others, to follow precise instructions. Only then, the scheme run by colonialists, Zionists and others will collapse. As you know a lot of people are sectarian, even within Sunni, Shia and others. Those narrow-minded people shouldn’t distract us from the bigger project.

I want to remind them of a hdith of the Prophet reported by Thawban. I am going to say it in short. The Prophet said: Allah, the Almighty, gathered up the world (or the earth) for me so that I saw its east and its west; and indeed the dominion of my nation will reach what was gathered up for me”. He didn’t say Shia or Sunni. We all follow the Sunna of Prophet Muhammad. Is there a prophet other than Muhammad for us to follow his Sunna? There are some doctrinal differences, and some personal judgments of some scholars. However, in essence, our judgment comes from our belief that Allah is our God, and our absolute loyalty is to him.

The host:

So what I understand is that Hamas doesn’t care about the opinions of extremists, whether Sunni, Shia or other?

Dr. al-Zahar:

In fact, we are hurt by this subject, especially by the hurtful words that were harsh towards the Resistance and Hamas. We’ve heard a lot of words on this matter. But I suggest that, to overcome this crisis and avoid being bogged down in the swamp they want us to fall into, our scholars should hold a conference to unite their word, and adopt a single approach. That way, we will no longer be targeted whether in bad faith, or by simple-mindedness, regarding these suggestions and ideas.

Iran keeps openly blaming itself, yet there is a Ukraine Air cover-up?

Source

Monday, 13 January 2020 3:40 PM  [ Last Update: Monday, 13 January 2020 4:16 PM ]

Iranian mourners gather around a vehicle carrying the coffin of slain top general Qasem Soleimani during the final stage of funeral processions, in his hometown Kerman on January 7, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

By Ramin Mazaheri

Many people have been quite shocked by Iran’s response to the tragic, mistaken downing of a Ukraine International Airlines flight.

Iran’s President Rouhani said, “I will never apologize for Iran – I don’t care what the facts are.” Tehran plans to never apologize, admit wrongdoing nor to accept responsibility.

All of the Iranian soldiers involved were awarded Combat Action Ribbons, the air-warfare coordinator received a Commendation Medal and the commanding officer was awarded the Legion of Merit for “exceptionally meritorious conduct.”

No one in the Iranian armed forces will ever be punished.

Many believe Iran shot down the plane purposely in order to instigate war.

No intention to cover up cause of Ukrainian plane crash: Shamkhani
The secretary of Iran

Obviously, all four of these paragraphs are totally false… but only when applied to Iran and not the US. The shocking belligerence, shamelessness and inhumanity I just recounted was the very real response from Washington after they shot down civilian Iran Air Flight 655 in 1988, killing 290 people. Anyone who has been following the recent tragic events is aware that Iran’s official response has been the complete opposite of how Washington handled a very similar tragedy.

But firstly: I find it incredible that some accuse Iran of a cover-up?

While, of course, the Western Mainstream Media will commit any lying exaggeration to further their billionaire masters’ instructions to topple Iran’s popular revolution, I lay the blame primarily at the unreasonable demands modern society puts on government servants via the 24/7 news cycle.

Iran admitted it was their missile which felled the airplane just three days afterwards, and – crucially – in conjunction with prepared apologies, self-recriminations and promises of punishing the negligent and/or fatally erroneous.

Iran’s reaction to Trump’s tweet: Don’t dishonor our language Iran has called President Donald Trump

However, three days was too long for some. I really wonder at the naiveté of such, often well-meaning, people.

Is no delay acceptable? No verifications needed at all?

In such a situation doesn’t everyone know there is a protocol to be followed? We are talking about the armed forces – does not everyone understand (as every nation has an army) that they have a chain of command, rules and a bureaucratic hierarchy which must be followed? The more important something is – especially for a horrific admission such as this – the longer the verification process necessarily takes. If the soldier who had pressed the “fire” button had rushed out of the base and declared to all who would listen, “It was my fault!”, he would be treated as a dangerous madman in any nation. However, it is as if some people expected this type of an instantaneous confirmation in the Ukraine Airlines tragedy?

I suggest such impatience – from those who want to get it “now” instead of getting it “right” – has been fostered by a 24/7 news cycle which does not want to hear about the need for interviewing those involved, testing and calibrating equipment, reviewing all the data, etc. Three days… well, I just find it hard to believe that anyone would find that unacceptable? Some people – due to their quite understandable grief over this tragedy – are being unreasonable, but many Western media and politicians do not have such sincere motivations for such a complaint.

A verification process like I have described would have been an acceptable delay – at least to me – under normal circumstances. Here, of course, the Western Mainstream Media is doing all they can to sweep under the rug the fact that Iran was in a state of high military alert provoked entirely by the recent assassination of Iran’s top general, a top Iraqi general and retaliatory missile strikes which had been fired by Iran just hours before the plane’s downing.

Iran’s retaliation for the appalling assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani was nowhere near as severe as US aggression merited. Washington tapped CNN to produce a propaganda report entirely designed to give the impression that the missile attack was not significant, but the point was not proportional revenge: the Leader of the Iranian Islamic Revolution Seyyed Ali Khamenei said it was merely to give a “slap in the face”. Therefore, nobody can say that Iran overreacted. However, the assassination proves to many in Iran that Washington is hell-bent on fomenting war with Iran. “High alert” is no exaggeration of the tensions at the time of the take-off of the Ukrainian airliner.

US troops knew Al-Asad air base would be attacked and sheltered in bunkers, exclusive tour reveals United States troops at the Al-Asad air base in Iraq were aware that an Iranian attack was imminent, allowing them to take shelter two-and-a-half-hours before missiles struck on Wednesday, CNN has been told during an exclusive tour of the devastated site.

Therefore, it is incredible that Iran is somehow being portrayed as being wholly responsible for the tragedy of the Ukraine plane downing? The bulk of the condemnation for the tragedy must obviously be aimed at Washington for creating this atmosphere which produced the tragedy, if anyone truly cares about justice.

Unfortunately, I am reminded of the old saying: “Everybody talks about peace, nobody talks about justice.” The incident is being used as the latest plank in the 40-year Iranophobia campaign, sadly.

Is the alleged ‘cover-up’ occurring in between the public lamentations and self-criticisms?

Soleimani’s assassination may trigger end of US military presence in Iraq: Paper General Soleimani’s assassination may trigger the ultimate objective of ending the US military presence in Iraq, a British paper says.

 The Ukrainian airliner downing shattered the peace of many families, but what we can say with total certainty today is that nobody in Iran wanted the destruction of a civilian airliner.

It was US President George Bush who famously refused to apologize, not Rouhani, but there are too many obviously sincere apologies from every level of Iran’s government. What cover-up? The commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards testified to Parliament, “I swear to almighty God that I wished I were in that plane and had crashed with them….” Two days earlier the chief aerospace commander told a press conference, “I wish I was dead and such an incident hadn’t happened….”

Where is the defiance, deflection and distraction of this alleged “cover-up”?

Trump warns US has 52 Iranian targets to hit if Iran launches attacks Trump posts tweets warning that US would respond to Iranian retaliation for general’s assassination.

There is obviously – at all levels of the Iranian government and military – sadness, regret and complete acceptance of responsibility. I feel sorry for those Iranian soldiers involved because they express such feelings of culpability – if you feel sorry for George Bush, or the soldiers he decorated, I don’t know what basis you have for such feelings because they were never uttered?

The 1988 IranAir flight was downed in the final month of the Iran-Iraq War. The US shot down the Iranian plane as an expression of their frustration that their proxy war with their ally-dictator-mass murderer Saddam Hussein had failed. It was a message that Washington would still act with murderous impunity, and that their war was not finished – they have stayed true to this murderous posture all these decades hence. Compare that with the situation in 2020.

Despite the illegal, inhuman slaying of Soleimani Iran is not about to be baited into war, which was Washington’s true intention. Tehran is not going to put all of Iran – and the region – at risk over the decision of an idiot/assassin, who is trying to distract from his impeachment trial (as well as from the indictment trial of his ally in Tel Aviv) and who may be back on reality television in 11 months.

Zarif: Iran missile strikes legitimate self-defense against US terrorism Foreign Minister Zarif says Iran’s retaliatory missile attack on American bases in Iraq was an act of “legitimate self-defense” against “legitimate targets” in response to US terrorist act.

The Ukraine Airlines flight was – unlike for Washington in 1988 – undoubtedly not a provocation, nor an incitement to continued conflict, assassination and war.

This is the reality which the West cannot see, as they are blinded by Islamophobia and Iranophobia: the Iranian government showed the humane response which one would expect of a truly progressive government, which they are. They did not respond with belligerence, defiance and a Washington-style cover-up. But the Iranian government gets no credit in the West ever – it’s their editorial policy.

Frankly, while this is obviously a tragedy, I want more information as to how it happened: I find it extremely coincidental that the plane came from Ukraine, which has undoubtedly been the site of (yet another) far-right coup/civil war supported by Washington. I am not disparaging all Ukraine, of course, but it’s fair to assume that the Pentagon has unlimited access to Ukrainian planes as well as a history of using cyber warfare and sabotage against Iran.

And we know they have already shot down civilian airliners in Iran with zero expressions of regret.

Try as they might, this tragedy cannot overshadow the Soleimani assassinations

The assassination of Soleimani and the tragedy of Ukraine Airlines must not be mixed: the former is an illegal, inhuman slaying of an anti-terror hero which must remain in the spotlight until Washington – the boasting perpetrator! – conforms with international justice; the latter is a tragedy, and Iran has made it crystal-clear that they will work openly with countries like Ukraine, France and Canada to find the root cause.

No one in Iran is pleased, openly or secretly, about the Ukraine Airlines tragedy, but the boasting murderers in Washington are no doubt glad the spotlight is now off their actions. Their assassination laid bare their aggression to Iran and their view that Iraq is a powerless US colony.

That is injustice on a grand scale, and it cannot stand.

Nasrallah says Iran missile strikes showed all US bases in West Asia within range“Look at the faces of the US leaders… Do they look like victorious faces?” Nasrallah asked.

There were protests in Iran after the Ukraine Airlines downing, and it is natural: many students were aboard the airplane, therefore many Iranian students had personal connections with the departed. This is why students led protests.

However, as is the case so often in Iran, counter-revolutionary groups stepped in to dangerously hijack the protests. That is proven by the video circulating of a “protester” dressed like Black Bloc member stomping on and pulling down a picture of Soleimani, a man who just days earlier had inspired millions to publicly attend his funeral.

The orders-of-magnitude support in Iran for the government as opposed to those who want to topple is revealed by the orders-of-magnitude larger turnout for Soleimani compared with the initially sincere, student-led grief protests. This is a simple, factual reality, but – as is the case with every protest in Iran – the Western MSM tries to pervert everything in Iran to topple the popular democratic revolution of 1979.

Of course, they are in overdrive now because they are being told to distract from the Soleimani slaying. That must not last.

Sadness in the world and Iran over the Ukraine Airlines tragedy will continue, especially for the bereaved families.

But if we are judging by responses to accidentally shooting down civilian airliners, one would think people would be clamoring for the fall of the American system and not the Iranian one?

Ayatollah Khamenei: Iran’s retaliation against US only ‘a slap’ Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has said Iran’s early morning retaliation against US assassination of Gen. Qassem Soleimani was just “a slap”.

Finally, I’d like to point out that due to Western sanctions airplane tragedies in Iran are woefully common. If the West really wants to make Iranian air travel more safe they could – as any humane person would – allow the sale of replacement parts for these machines which carry so many lives between their wings.

Another way the West could avoid such tragedies? End the hot, cold and assassinating war against Iran.

Iran has accepted responsibility for the mistake – assuming further investigations do not reveal new facts – but the West needs to accept overall responsibility for the Ukraine Airlines tragedy as they fabricated such a dangerous, anti-democratic, inhumane climate of war.

(Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism.’)

(The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV.)

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