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‘You killed Islamic State’s #1 enemy’: Iranian FM Zarif skewers US over Soleimani assassination as Tehran ratchets up rhetoric

Washington boasts about defeating Islamic State, but instead, it vanquished the terrorist group’s most formidable foe, Quds Commander Qassem Soleimani, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said.

In a speech in Tehran on Monday, Zarif lashed out at the United States’ alleged anti-terrorism operations in Syria and the Middle East. 

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“You claim you eliminated Daesh. You killed Daesh’s number one enemy in a wretched act and with utmost bestiality,” the top Iranian diplomat said, using an Arabic acronym for Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS).

Soleimani, who led Iran’s elite Quds Force, was killed in a US drone strike in Baghdad on January 3. The Iranian general was widely considered a leading figure in the fight against Islamic State, with even Western media outlets acknowledging the central role he played in the fight against the self-described caliphate. 

His assassination caused a furor in Iran and prompted retaliatory strikes against military facilities in Iraq housing US military personnel. 

Tehran has taken an increasingly defiant tone in response to Washington’s efforts to unilaterally impose “snapback” sanctions under the 2015 nuclear deal, from which the US withdrew two years ago.

In a recent interview with RT, Zarif accused the United States of engaging in “medical terrorism” by using economic restrictions to prevent Iran from purchasing medicine during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Earlier in September, the chief of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) General Hossein Salami vowed that his country would carry out a “serious” retaliation if the US military harms a single Iranian. 

“If a hair comes off an Iranian head, we’ll blow all your fluff,” he said in a message directed at US President Donald Trump. 

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