The 62-year-old the driving force behind Iranian military operations in the Middle East as head of Iran’s elite Quads Force embraced martyrdom at Baghdad airport, along with other Iran-backed militia figures, early on Friday in a strike ordered by US President Donald Trump. Soleimani’s killing traces a major increase in tensions between Washington and Tehran. Under his leadership, Iran had supported Hezbollah in Lebanon and other pro-Iranian organ groups expanded its military presence in Iraq and Syria and harmonized Syria’s offensive against rebel groups in the country’s long civil war. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khomeini stated the serious revenge awaits the criminals behind the attack. He also announced three days of national mourning. Soleimani was well known as the second most powerful figure in Iran, behind the Ayatollah Khamenei. The Quds Force, an elite unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, reported directly to the Ayatollah and Soleimani was hailed as a brave national figure. Soleimani and officials from Iran-backed militias were leaving Baghdad airport in two cars when they were hit by a US drone strike near a cargo area. The commander had flown in from Lebanon or Syria. Many missiles struck the convoy and at least seven people are believed to have died. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards stated Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was among those killed. Soleimani’s son-in-law and a member of the Lebanese Hezbollah were also among the dead. Iran warned to take revenge a US drone strike that killed a top Iranian commander in Baghdad. The Pentagon stated that US President Donald Trump had ordered Qassem Soleimani’s targeted killing after a pro-Iran mob this week surrounded the American embassy in the Iraqi capital, throwing rocks and setting fires. Millions took to the streets of Tehran holding up posters of Soleimani, who was largely admired in the Islamic republic. Iran’s Supreme National Security Council promised that these criminals will face severe counter in the right place and time. The US embassy in Baghdad urged all American citizens to leave Iraq right away and US nationals working at southern oil fields were being evacuated. Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi mentioned the strike was a “flagrant violation” of a security accord with the US, warning it would “spark a devastating war in Iraq”. Analyst mentioned the strike would sent world oil prices accelerating would be a turning point in the tensions between Iran and the US.
Relations between the US and Iran have worsened between Teheran and Washington abandoned a historic nuclear deal with Tehran in 2018 and re-imposed paralyzing sanctions. Russia, an Iranian ally, has stated Washington has taken a “reckless step” while France says it sees an “escalation under way”. US many politicians have asked the reason of President Donald Trump’s move. These reactions demonstrate that this is no normal killing, and there is true worries in world that the assassination may angered something much higher. The assassination of Gen Soleimani may be the big quarrel that sets the Middle East alight in a new fire. In this context Iran should display a grown and measured answer. The hardliners in the US administration have long been arousing for a fight with Tehran, and the strike appears to have been designed to arouse a strong reaction. For at least the sake of its own people Iran must resist taking the trap. Regional states and so called world powers must show their role to disarm the situation and guarantee such accidents are not repeated by either side as a new war in the region is certainly not in the interest of world peace.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi soon came into contact on phone with Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Turkey. This was the first interaction of Foreign Minister Qureshi with the Iranian leadership after the assassination of Iran’s Maj Gen Qassem Soleimani in a US drone strike in Iraq on Friday. The director general of the Inter-Services Public Relations Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor declared in frank terms that Pakistan would not allow its soil to be used against anyone and would continue to play its parts in establishing stable peace in the region. Pakistan is deeply worried over recent developments. It recognizes the avoidance of conflict, exercise of maximum restraint and complete reduction of tension. In clear terms Pakistan would neither let its soil be used against any other state nor will it become a part and parcel of any regional conflict. Maj Gen Ghafoor requested the nation not to pay heed to rumors on social as well as main media regarding the country’s role in the Middle East situation. Tehran after the killing of Maj Gen Soleimani, stated that Pakistan not want go towards another war. Regarding that the telephonic conversation between Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo , he said the army chief had emphasized the need for exercising great restraint and positive engagement following the killing of the Iranian general. The army chief had said to Mr Pompeo that worrisome in the region should be reduced and that Pakistan desires that the region should not go towards any war. Pakistan, had effectively defeated terrorism in the country, secured Pak-Afghan border, played an optimistic role in the Afghan reconciliation process. Pakistan after a lot of sacrifices will not be part of any process that can destroy peace.
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the killing risks provoking a “dangerous escalation of violence”. Trump’s 2020 presidential rival, Joe Biden, stated that President Trump just tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox.” UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned of the need to avoid war in the Gulf. This is a moment in which leaders must exercise maximum restraint. The world cannot afford another war in the Gulf. The EU calls on all the actors very much engaged and on those partners who can have an impact to exercise less restraint and show responsibility in this critical moment. China calls for calm after Iran’s top military leader killed in US attack. Turkey has always been against any foreign interference in the region, assassinations and sectarian conflicts. Putin and Macron said there should be no “new dangerous escalation of tensions” and “called on all the parties to act with restraint. The Strait of Hormuz is a strategic point for the West and a large number of American destroyers and warships cross there. The United States had targeted 52 Iranian sites. In its resolution on Sunday, the Iraqi parliament called for an end to all foreign troop presence in the country. Strategic American targets in the region have long since been identified by Iran. Some 5,000 US troops remain in Iraq, most in an advisory role.