Recreate alliance against ISIS: Javad Zarif

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif addresses during Raisina Dialogue 2020, in New Delhi.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The fight against the Islamic State suffered a setback with the assassination of General Qassem Soleimani, said the Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on Wednesday. Addressing the annual Raisina Dialogue, the visiting minister said the Islamic State's fighters are located near India and Iran and both countries should recreate the anti-ISIS alliance.

"General Soleimani was the single most important challenger to Daesh. The fight against Daesh suffered a big setback with his assassination. There are two persons who are celebrating the assassination of General Soleimani, - President Trump and Daesh (Islamic State)," said Mr. Zarif highlighting that the death of General Soleimani has affected the front against the ISIS. The late general was a leading figure in the anti-ISIS fight that led to the defeat of the group in Syria and Iraq where they had initially gained territorial advantage in 2011-14.

Also read: Analysis | The importance of Qasem Soleimani

General Soleimani was assassinated in Baghdad during a visit there, by missiles fired from a U.S. drone on January 3. The action triggered a chain of events that ultimately led to the Iranians firing missiles at the US bases in Iraq that were involved in the assassination. The minister pointed out that the US broke international law by targeting an Iranian general who was visiting Iraq. He justified Iranian actions as measures taken in self defence.

The Iranian diplomat alerted India about the threat posed by ISIS or Daesh and urged Delhi and Tehran should strengthen the fight against the group.

"Daesh is in fact very close to you and us. They are in Afghanistan where they are holding the same territories from which the Taliban started," said Javad Zarif warning about the perils that ISIS poses to India and other countries in the region. He was not open to letting the U.S. participate in such a grouping unconditionally and said, "U.S. should prove that it is interested in fighting Daesh."

The Iranian minister criticised the U.S. but also indicated that Tehran remains open to dialogue with the U.S.. "We have an official channel through the Swiss for diplomacy with the U.S.," said Mr. Zarif shedding light on the secret channel through which the two powers maintain contact and resolved high tension in the aftermath of the assassination of General Soleimani. The minister said that the late general was popular across the world and a large number of rallies and meetings took place for him in Iraq, Iran, Lebanon and even in India. He claimed that 430 meetings took place in memory of General Soleimani in India.

He also shed light on the downing of the Ukrainian airliner near Tehran which took place at the height of US-Iran hostilities following the killing of the general. "Why did it happen? It happened because there was a crisis? It happened at the time of a crisis," said Mr. Zarif indicating that the downing of the airliner was a mistake committed by Iranian forces that were engaged in a high tension hostility with the U.S. at the time of this incident.

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Printable version | Jun 16, 2021 3:53:24 PM |

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