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ConflictsMiddle East

Iran blames Germany for Qassem Soleimani's assassination

January 3, 2021

It's been a year since senior Iranian military leader Qassem Soleimani was killed in a US-directed drone attack while visiting Baghdad. Hundreds of mourners have gathered in the Iraqi capital, ahead of a protest.

Qassem Soleimani was killed in a US drone strike on January 3, 2020
Qassem Soleimani was killed in a US drone strike on January 3, 2020Image: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Iran's state media has alleged that in addition to the United States, several countries, including Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, Germany and Britain, had played a role in the assassination of its senior military leader Qassem Soleimani.

Soleimani was killed in a US drone strike on January 3, 2020, while visiting Baghdad.

According to DEFA Press, more countries would be added to the list once the investigation into Soleimani's killing is completed.

"We must learn from this experience, which came at a great price, and we must make every effort to preserve national unity and cohesion that was achieved due to the blood of martyrs," it said.

On Wednesday, Iranian prosecutor Ali Alqasimehr claimed that a British security firm and an airbase in Germany had a hand in Soleimani's assassination. Without providing evidence, he said that London-based security services company G4S played a role in the killing.

The Iranian government alleges the US had used the Ramstein Air Base in southwestern Germany for targeting Soleimani.

Iraqi mourners mark anniversary

Meanwhile, hundreds of Shiite Iraqis converged on central Baghdad's Tahrir Square early on Sunday to mark the first anniversary.

Witnesses told press agency dpa that the streets leading to the square had been packed since early morning.

Security measures have been tightened and security forces were deployed in great numbers to provide security. The Interior Ministry had said on Saturday that a plan had been drawn up to secure the protests.

Iran vows revenge

Speaking on the eve of the first anniversary of Soleimani's killing, Iran's Revolutionary Guards chief Hossein Salami vowed to respond to any "action the enemy takes," as he visited a strategic Gulf island near the entrance to the Strait of Hormuz amid rising tensions with the US.

"We are here today to evaluate and be assured of our powerful capabilities at sea and against enemies who sometimes boast... and threaten," Salami said, according to the Guards' official website Sepahnews.

"We would respond with a reciprocal, decisive and strong blow to whatever action the enemy would take against us," Salami warned.

Esmail Ghaani, who succeeded Soleimani as head of the elite Quds force, said Friday that Iran was ready to avenge Soleimani's death.

"From inside your own house, there may emerge, someone who will retaliate for your crime," he said at a televised event to mark the anniversary at Tehran University.

"American mischief will not deter the Quds force from carrying on its resistance path," he added.

Attacks on US installations

The Trump administration has accused Tehran of orchestrating a recent spate of attacks on US interests in Iraq and warned Baghdad that it would close its embassy unless it can get the attacks under control.

In November, Trump announced a reduction of US troops in Iraq by January, before he leaves office.

On Thursday, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused outgoing US President Donald Trump of aiming to fabricate a "pretext for war" after Trump blamed Tehran for a rocket strike on the US embassy in Baghdad on December 20.

"Iran doesn't seek war, but will openly and directly defend its people, security and vital interests," he tweeted.