Killing of All US Leaders Won’t Avenge ‘Blood’ of Soleimani, IRGC Commander Says
© AP Photo / Office of the Iranian Supreme LeaderIn this Sept. 18, 2016, file photo provided by an official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, center, attends a meeting in Tehran, Iran. Iran executed Mahmoud Mousavi Majd convicted of providing information to the United States and Israel about the prominent Revolutionary Guard general later killed by a U.S. drone strike, state TV reported on Monday, July 20, 2020. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP, File)
© AP Photo / Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader
General Qasem Soleimani, head of the IRGC's elite Quds force, was killed in a drone strike authorised by then-US President Donald Trump in January 2020. Iran responded by firing over a dozen missiles at two US bases in Iraq, leaving over 100 American troops with traumatic brain injuries.
Mohammad Pakpour, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)'s ground forces, has said that the killing of all US leaders would not be enough to take revenge on America for the assassination of top Iranian general, Qasem Soleimani.
"Martyr Soleimani was such a great character that if all American leaders are killed, this will still not avenge the blood of Lieutenant General Soleimani", Pakpour told reporters on Wednesday.
The IRGC commander stressed that Iran has to follow Soleimani's path and avenge him through other methods, referring to missile and other attacks against American targets and Israel as alternatives to killing US leaders.
Soleimani and senior Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis were killed in a US drone strike on their car at the Baghdad International Airport on 3 January 2020, in an attack that was authorised by then-US President Donald Trump.
The killings led to a major escalation of tensions between Tehran and Washington, with Iran officially responding by launching airstrikes against two Iraqi military bases housing US troops.
The strikes caused no deaths or serious injuries, but the Pentagon has since reported that at least 109 US servicemen have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries.
US-Iranian tensions have persisted since 8 May 2018, when Trump announced Washington's unilateral exit from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and reinstating harsh economic sanctions against Tehran. Exactly a year later, Tehran declared that it would start scaling down its key JCPOA commitments.
Right now, Tehran and world powers are trying to tackle a spate of stumbling blocks in the Vienna talks on reviving the Iran nuclear deal. One of the thorny issues pertains to the State Department's move to keep the IRGC's Quds force on America's Foreign Terrorist Organisation (FTO) list.