TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani blasted the US assassination of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Qods Force Commander Lieutenant General Soleimani, and said that keeping silent against aggressors will increase their audacity.
The Iranian president made the remarks in a phone conversation with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday.
“The US assassination General Soleimani was a big mistake,” he said, adding, “We call on the regional states to unite against Washington’s threats.”
“If we remain silent against the US, it will become bolder and more aggressive,” he further said.
The Iranian president reiterated that the regional countries should unite against the US in order to prevent a big threat from jeopardizing the whole region.
“We should respond to unwise measures and remaining silent vis-à-vis the aggressor and oppressor will make them bolder,” he added.
Stressing that the Iranian people are very angry with what the Americans have done, Rouhani said that what the US did was very wrong and unwise, the US has violated Iraq’s national sovereignty and carried out terrorist acts in Iraq which contradicted that country’s independence.
“The US also carried out an organized terrorist act against another government and martyred our great and popular military commander and if we will not be in unison, we will face a great threat,” he said.
Rouhani appreciated the Turkish president for his sympathizing with the Iranian government and nation on the sad occasion of the loss of the top Iranian general.
The Turkish president, for his part, extended his condolences on martyrdom of Lieutenant Soleimani to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, the Iranian nation and government, and said, “I was deeply saddened and I am aware of the anger and hatred of Iran’s leadership, you (President Rouhani) and the Iranian nation.”
President Erdogan said that he has seen the glorious funeral procession of Lieutenant General Soleimani from the Iraqi television, adding that all these scenes clearly show the Iraqi people’s interest in Lieutenant General Soleimani “and I pray to God for him to rest in peace”.
The Turkish president pointed to the need for restoring stability and security in the region, and said, “Foreign interferences and fighting in the region prevent the region from attaining calmness and stability and we should not allow such measures to endanger regional peace and stability.”
President Erdogan pointed to talks between Iranian and Turkish foreign ministers, saying, “In my upcoming visit to Tehran in the near future, we will discuss and exchange views on bilateral ties and regional issues.”
Lieutenant General Soleimani was martyred in a targeted assassination attack by the US drones at Baghdad International Airport early on Friday morning.
General Soleimani has been martyred by the US aircraft after lifetime efforts, the IRGC said in a statement early Friday morning.
The airstrike also martyred al-Muhandis, deputy commander of Iraq’s PMF. The PMF media arm said the two were martyred in an American airstrike that targeted their vehicle on the road to the airport.
Five Iranian and five Iraqi militaries were martyred by missiles fired by the US drone at Baghdad International Airport.
The Pentagon confirmed the attack in a statement.
The attack came amid tensions that started by the US attack on PMF units that killed 28 Iraqi popular forces. A day later, Iraqi people attacked the US embassy in Baghdad. On Wednesday President Donald Trump ordered about 750 US soldiers deployed to the Middle East.
US officials earlier suggested they were to engage in further retaliatory attacks in Iraq.
The developments also represent a major downturn in Iraq-US relations that could further undermine US influence in the region and American troops in Iraq and weaken Washington’s hand in its pressure campaign against Iran. Trump was vacationing on his estate in Palm Beach, Florida, but sent out a tweet of an American flag.
The attack represents a dramatic escalation by the US toward Iran after months of tensions. The tensions take root in Trump’s decision in May 2018 to withdraw the US from Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers, struck under his predecessor.