This article was originally published Jan. 1, 2021, on Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
The head of Iran’s judiciary has said that those who carried out the targeted killing of a top Iranian military commander one year ago are “not safe on Earth.”
Ebrahim Raisi, speaking in Tehran on January 1, said that even U.S. President Donald Trump, who authorized the strike that killed Major General Qasem Soleimani near Baghdad on January 3, 2020, was not “immune from justice.”
Soleimani headed the Quds Force, the foreign operations wing of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).
At the time of Soleimani’s killing in a U.S. drone strike, Trump posted on Twitter that the Iranian had “killed or badly wounded thousands of Americans over an extended period of time and was plotting to kill many more.”
Iran responded to the killing by launching a volley of missiles at bases in Iraq hosting U.S. and other international troops a few days later.
On January 1, Soleimani’s successor, Esmail Qaani, addressed those who carried out the drone strike, saying that “it’s even possible that there are people inside your home that will respond to your crime.”
“American mischief will not deter the Quds Force from carrying on its resistance path,” Qaani said.
On December 31, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused the United States of seeking a “pretext for war” because U.S. officials have suggested that Iran might carry out retaliatory attacks to mark the anniversary of Soleimani’s assassination.
Tensions have been elevated between Iran and the United States since 2018 when Washington withdrew from an international agreement that aimed to restrict Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for relief from sanctions.
The Trump administration argued the agreement was “fatally flawed” because it did not address Iran’s ballistic-missile program or its support for regional groups that Washington considers terrorists.
After withdrawing, the United States reimposed sanctions on Iran.
Copyright (c)2020 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.
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