A day after a US drone killed Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps commander and intelligence chief Major General Qasem Soleimani in Bagdhad, US President Donald Trump called the slain military commander “the number-one terrorist anywhere in the world” adding he was a threat not only to the US but to countries like India as well.
“Soleimani made the death of innocent people his sick passion, contributing to terrorist plots as far away as New Delhi and London,” Trump said in his remarks released by the White House.
While Trump did not explain what he meant by Iranian terror plots in India, experts believe he was alluding to the February 13, 2012 bomb blast in New Delhi in which Israeli diplomat Tal Yehoshua Koren was badly injured. In a modus operandi traced back to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the attackers managed to stick a bomb to the moving car of Koren, who she was on her way to pick her two kids from school, using a magnet.
Koren had to undergo surgery to remove shrapnel from her body. Her driver and two bystanders, too, were injured in the attack. Justifying his order to take down Soleimani, Trump said, “Soleimani has been perpetrating acts of terror to destabilize the Middle East for the last 20 years. What the US did should have been done long ago. A lot of lives would have been saved.”
The Ministry of External Affairs, which issued a nuanced statement on Friday calling for restraint from all sides to deescalate tensions in West Asia, is yet to respond to Trump’s charge. India shares good relations with Iran, which is reeling under US sanctions. New Delhi is also keen on Iran’s upcoming Chabahar Port which it hopes will give it access to oil and gas resources in Iran and central Asian countries.
Thousands mourn Soleimani and Muhandis
Thousands of Iraqis chanting “Death to America” on Saturday mourned Soleimani and Muhandis. The mourners were joined by Iranian PM Adel Abdel Mahdi.
The coffins were first brought to a revered Shiite shrine in Baghdad’s Kadhimiya district. The dignitaries then accompanied the coffins into the Green Zone for an official ceremony.