Pompeo: Iran Regime's Soleimani Is a Terrorist
By Staff Writer
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared that Iranian Quds Force commander Maj Gen Qassem Soleimani is a terrorist and should be looked upon in the same way as ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi and other extremists.
He said: “He’s a terrorist. Qassem Soleimani has the blood of Americans on his hands, as do the forces he leads. America is determined each time we find an organisation, institution or an individual that has taken the lives of individuals, it is our responsibility to reduce that risk."
Pompeo highlighted evidence that the Iran regime’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) were responsible for the deaths of 608 US soldiers in Iraq from 2003 to 2011, because of the bombs they supplied to Shiite militias.
He said: “You can’t have peace, you can’t have stability, you can’t have security in the Middle East without weakening the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps."
On Monday, the US designated the IRGC, of which the Quds Force is an important arm, as a foreign terrorist organisation on Monday. Donald Trump referred to the 125,000-strong military force as Iran’s "primary means of directing and implementing its global terrorist campaign".
This marks the first time that the US has designated a foreign government’s army as a terrorist group and means that anyone who provides material or moral support to the IRGC could face prison in the US. However, it was not unexpected.
In 2018, the US called the IRGC a tool of Iran regime’s state-sponsored terrorism and Trump promised to curtail regime’s malign behaviours through sanctions. The US also designated Hezbollah as a terrorist entity, noting that it too is backed by Iran and carries out terrorist acts at the behest of the mullahs.
In typical fashion, the Iranian regime responded by denying the allegations, designating the US Central Command and all its forces as terrorist, and calling Washington a "supporter of terrorism".
The designation was welcomed by Saudi Arabia who, along with Bahrain, added the IRGC to its terrorism list in October 2018.
On Tuesday, Saudi state news agency, Spa, quoted a Saudi Foreign Ministry source as saying: "The US decision translates the kingdom's repeated demands to the international community of the necessity of confronting terrorism supported by Iran."
Saudi Arabia has long accused the Iranian regime of interfering in its affairs and trying to destabilise the Middle East and broke off diplomatic relations with Iran in 2016 in protest of the torching of its diplomatic missions.