Qassem Soleimani, assassinated by the US, was a hero who fought ISIS, Ebrahim Raisi says
In his first interview to international television, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi told RT he sincerely meant what he said about the killers of General Qassem Soleimani having to face a proper international trial, calling the slain general a hero of the entire Muslim world for fighting against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) terrorists in Iraq and Syria.
"Soleimani not only belonged to the people of Iran, he belonged to the Muslim community," Raisi told RT's Murad Gazdiev in an exclusive interview that aired on Thursday. "All people, both Muslims and non-Muslims, of course, have great respect for his work, because they know that he was able to save people from the attacks of the enemies of humanity, namely [ISIS] and Takfiri factions," he added, using the Arabic term for heretics from Islam.
Soleimani's service in Syria and Iraq "was aimed at fighting terrorism. He was there to save people's lives. Everyone in the world knows this," Raisi said. "Therefore, Qassem Soleimani is a hero."
The general, who commanded the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) was visiting Baghdad in January 2020 when he was assassinated by a US drone strike. In retaliation, Iran fired missiles at several military bases in Iraq hosting US troops. On the second anniversary of Soleimani's death, Raisi said Iran would exact "revenge" unless those responsible face an international tribunal.
"The one who commits such a great crime and confesses to this crime, naturally, should be punished in court," Raisi told RT. "The promise to protect the oppressed and punish the oppressors is, of course, a sincere promise, and it will certainly be kept."
Elected president of Iran in 2021, Raisi previously served as attorney general and chief justice of the Islamic Republic.