US President Donald Trump earlier claimed that Washington had eliminated the top Iranian military commander to halt Tehran’s plans to blow up the US Embassy in Baghdad.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on a national broadcast that the United States possessed no information about the date and place of an alleged attack planned by assassinated General Qassem Soleimani.
Pompeo still insisted that Soleimani was going to conduct “imminent attacks”.
“We don’t know precisely when – and we don’t know precisely where. But it was real … There was a real opportunity here and there was a real necessity here. We made the right decision. The president made the right call”, Pompeo told Fox News.
On 3 January, IRGC Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani was killed in a targeted US drone attack on the Baghdad International Airport. Washington said that Soleimani was planning to attack US personnel and that by eliminating him “a lot of lives were saved”.
The US earlier designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force a terrorist organisation.
Iran retaliated for the murder of its top commander with a missile attack that targeted the US military in Iraq. The attack was dubbed Operation Martyr Soleimani and hit the Ayn al-Asad Air Base in western Iraq and American facilities in Erbil. No US personnel were injured in the attack President Trump said in his Wednesday address to the nation.
Soleimani was a highly respected figure in Iranian politics and was praised for combating a wide range of terrorist groups in the region, including Daesh. He was also given credit for being an “architect” of the entire Iranian security structure.