Ahead of the first anniversary of the assassination of Iran’s Quds Force commander Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani by the United States, both sides have said they are prepared for escalation from the other side but will not be the first to make a move.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted today, “Instead of fighting Covid in the US, [Donald Trump] & cohorts waste billions to fly B-52s & send armadas to OUR region.” He continued, “Intelligence from Iraq indicates plot to FABRICATE pretext for war. Iran doesn’t seek war but will OPENLY & DIRECTLY defend its people, security & vital interests.”
US officials claim they have sent submarines and bombers to the Persian Gulf in order to “deter” Iran ahead of possible attacks against US bases or interests in the region. Other US officials, however, have disputed the claims that Iran is seeking to attack US bases.
As the anniversary of Soleimani’s assassination approaches, many Iranian officials have been talking about his legacy. Given that Soleimani approached domestic politics through a nonpartisan approach, various political sides have attempted to co-opt Soleimani as one of their own. “What Soleimani understood was his national, religious and revolutionary responsibilities, and he never doubted their implementation,” President Hassan Rouhani said today. “When he understands that something is our responsibility, we must do it for our country, our people and our region.”
Saeed Jalili, former hard-line nuclear negotiator and critic of Rouhani’s outreach to the West and attempts to negotiate, said that Soleimani’s actual legacy is that he had a realistic outlook on political issues. “Some say we have to be pragmatic in foreign policy,” said Jalili, who was often accused of being ideological during the nuclear negotiations when he was in charge. “Actually, Soleimani was pragmatic in the world of politics.” Jalili warned his critics and political opponents that “if you do not see this reality, you will remain in the same place for years.”
Iran has continued to vow revenge for the assassination of Soleimani. However, they are still pursuing a legal case as well. The human rights office of Iran, which is headed by Ali Bagheri, said the case is not a show and that the head of Iran’s Judiciary, Ayatollah Ebrahim Raisi, is seriously pursuing the case. “The assassination was an act against the national security of the Islamic Republic,” Bagheri said.
It is not clear in what ways Iran will pursue a legal case, but they claim that other countries were involved as well. According to Bagheri, American bases in Kuwait, Qatar and Jordan were used in the assassination, as well as a base in Germany. He added that a security firm in the United Kingdom, which was in charge of security for the Baghdad airport, was also involved.