Excerpts of the interview, Abuja-based Diplomacy Monitor, one of the titles of Education Monitor Newspaper, conducted with the Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Nigeria, His Excellency, Mohammad Alibak, on the one year anniversary of the Assassination of Iranian General, Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in cold blood at Baghdad International Airport, Iraq, on the 3rd of January, 2020, along with the Commander of Iraqi’s Popular Mobilisation Unit (PMU), Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, and their Associates/Escorts, who were killed on the orders of President Donald Trump.
Question: Your Excellency, as Iran, and lovers of freedom and peace across the world are commemorating the first anniversary of the Martyrdom of late General Qassem Soleimani who was an Icon and Commander of peace and freedom, can you share with us what actually took him to Iraq?
Amb. Alibak: Martyr Hajj Qassem Soleimani had officially travelled to Baghdad on the invitation of Iraqi officials. He was carrying a political message to bring peace to the region. The message was supposed to be delivered to Saudi officials through Iraq.
In fact, in addition to mastering military affairs, Soleimani was diligent in the field of diplomacy and peacekeeping, and in reducing tensions and expanding friendships in the region.
Unfortunately, the US terrorist government violated the national sovereignty of Iraq by assassinating a foreign official, within the sovereignty of Iraq, which is completely an illegal act and in violation of international law and regulations.
The assassination of the counter-terrorism expert, General Soleimani, was no doubt meant to weaken Iran’s determination to rid the region of the artificial crises imposed on it by the United States and its allies. But, instead of this dastardly act to weaken the Islamic Republic of Iran, it strengthened its resolve in the fight against these proxy armies.
Question: Many people across the world that depend on the narratives of the western world see the martyr General as the enemy of humanity, particularly the United States and its allies in the Middle East. Who, can you say was Hajj Qassem Soleimani?
Amb. Alibak: We cannot describe the martyr Hajj Qassem Soleimani, in just one aspect. As well as he was the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)’s Quds Force, he was a strategist in the full sense of the word and had always served the nation with respect and dignity. His knowledge and proficiency of regional issues and the fight against terrorism upset the terrorist regimes of the United States and Israel.
Our region lost a great warrior for peace. From contributing to the Bonn conference (Afghanistan issue) to a relentless struggle to rid the region of ISIS. Gen Soleimani played a unique role in the fight for stability of the Middle East & beyond. His assassination showed US’ true colours.
Gen Soleimani was a brilliant strategist, a humble & brave commander, a gentle character and above all, a national hero & an anti-terrorism champion. His loss was a tragedy, but his legacy of resistance & objection to bullying will remain well alive.
Question: West Asia, where Martyr Hajj Qassim Soleimani came from is, arguably, the most unstable region in the world today, what can you say are the reasons for this, and what do you think needs to be done to bring peace to this most important and strategic region?
Amb. Alibak: The Middle-East and Persian Gulf region have always been coveted by foreign powers throughout history due to its abundant natural resources and also its paramount religious status.
After the victory of the Islamic Revolution of Iran, a dramatic change took place in the Middle-East that sent ripples through the world and jeopardized the interests of the arrogant powers, namely the United States.
The Islamic Republic of Iran had sought to support the oppressed nations throughout the world and especially the Palestinian people. The IRGC’s Quds Force commanded by the Martyr Haj Qassem Soleimani, sought to organize small resistance factions into cohesive and well-disciplined armies to thwart the vicious US-Zionist agendas.
Supporting the Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip against the barbaric Zionist aggressions, supporting the Iraqi nations against the ISIS menace is only a small part of anti-imperialist activities of Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
We believe that any security constructs in the region that are not based on a collective nature would be doomed to fail because security cannot be brought from outside the region. Therefore, the last solution to bring peace in the region would be a withdrawal of the U.S terrorist troops from the region.
Question: What actions do you think should be taken by the international community so that we do not see such terrorist acts by governments in the future?
Amb. Alibak: By committing a craven act of terror against Gen Soleimani, the US violated int’l law and the UN Charter in a blatant violation of Iraqi sovereignty. It’s a well-documented fact, which has been admitted by Trump, that the US has had a crucial role in the rise of terrorism in our region, from AQ to ISIS. Not surprising that the US assassination of Gen Soleimani was cheered by ISIS: brothers in arms.
The assassination of Gen Soleimani has proved the claim of counterterrorism by some countries is the same as their claim of defending human rights.
Just as they remained silent in the face of the assassination of Martyr Soleimani, they also remained silent in abusing the rights of the Iranian people through US war and economic terrorism, and never fulfilled their commitments to alleviate the suffering of the Iranian people, even during the Corona outbreak.
Unfortunately, the United Nation did not fulfil its responsibilities in this regard either. The UN Secretary-General’s recent report does not comment on the condemnation of the killings, nor does it address the negative consequences of this terrorist action.
If all countries and the United Nations had done their duty, we would not have witnessed the brutal assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist, Dr Mohsen Fakhrizadeh on the eve of the first anniversary of the martyrdom of Gen Soleimani.
Question: Nigeria is facing its greatest security challenge in history, similar to the one that the Middle East is facing and which Iranian late Hajj Qassim Soleimani successfully checkmated and gave his life for. Is there any way Iran can help Nigeria overcome its security challenges?
Amb. Alibak: The Islamic Republic of Iran has gained valuable experience in this field due to its long-term fight, against terrorism. From the beginning of the formation of ISIS in the region by the US terrorist government, General Qassem Soleimani has been at the forefront of the fight against this group, and without any expectations, he shared his experiences in the fight against insecurity with the countries of the region.
The principled policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran is always to share such experiences with countries involved in insecurity. For this reason, we have had various meetings with Nigerian officials and have always expressed our readiness to cooperate on security issues.