12:50 GMT26 January 2020
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    On Monday, US President Donald Trump defended his decision to assassinate high-ranking Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani; blaming the “fake news media” and their "Democratic partners" for doubting his administration's narrative over whether Soleimani's future plans to attack the US were "imminent".

    The German news agency DPA has cited unnamed Bundestag sources as saying that the country’s parliament questions the legitimacy of Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander Qasem Soleimani’s killing by the US last week.

    The sources claimed that statements by the US Administration do not allow one to “unambiguously answer the question why the assassination of Soleimani in Iraq was necessary to avert a direct threat to the lives of American citizens”.  

    “It seems that a drone attack does not meet the ‘last resort’ criteria to save the lives of Americans and in this regard, it can be seen as a violation of the UN-initiated International  Covenant on Civil and Political Rights”, the sources argued.

    The remarks come after President Donald Trump moved to defend his decision to authorise the assassination of Soleimani, accusing the “fake news media” of questioning the move.

    “The Fake News Media and their Democrat Partners are working hard to determine whether or not the future attack by terrorist Soleimani was 'imminent' or not, & was my team in agreement. The answer to both is a strong YES., but it doesn't really matter because of his horrible past!” Trump tweeted on Monday.

    US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, for his part, said during a speech at Stanford’s Hoover Institute on Monday that Soleimani’s killing was part of a “[Washington’] bigger strategy” to deter Iran and other US rivals, including Russia and China.

    “The importance of deterrence isn’t confined to Iran. In all cases, we must deter foes to defend freedom. That’s the whole point of President Trump’s work to make our military the strongest it’s ever been”, Pompeo pointed out.

    The statement marked a significant departure from Washington’s original stance on the matter that Soleimani was destroyed because he allegedly planned the 27 December strike on an Iraqi base that killed an American contractor and the 31 December attack on the US embassy in Baghdad

    “There is no doubt that there were a series of imminent attacks that were being plotted by Qassem Soleimani. We don't know precisely when, and we don't know precisely where, but it was real”, he told Fox News last week.

    US Defence Secretary Mark Esper, however, contradicted the claim on Sunday, saying that he had seen no evidence to back it up.

    US-Iran Tensions Exacerbate After Soleimani’s Killing

    General Soleimani was killed on 3 January, when a US Reaper drone launched a missile at the Baghdad International Airport in a strike that was ordered by Trump and slammed by Tehran as an act of terror.

    The attack further escalated US-Iranian tensions which had been simmering since Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

    Iran retaliated against the US drone strike by attacking American forces at the Ayn Al-Asad Air Base and a facility in Erbil in Iraq with ballistic missiles. There were no casualties in the attack which Tehran claimed were conducted in self-defence and in line with the UN Charter.

    Trump indicated that there would be no immediate US escalation in the conflict during his address to the nation on 8 January, when he signalled Washington’s readiness to make peace with Tehran if its leadership “changed its behaviour”. At the same time, the US President underlined that Iran would never be allowed to obtain a nuclear weapon.

    Related:

    Trump Claims Soleimani Was Planning Attacks on 4 US Embassies
    Instagram Deletes Soleimani-Related Posts, Some Iranian Media Accounts Citing US Sanctions
    Not So Fast, Mr President: Did Trump Abuse His Power by Ordering Soleimani's Assassination?
    US Mulled Targeting Soleimani for Assassination Since 2018 – Report
    Tags:
    parliament, killing, drone strike, assassination, Mike Pompeo, Donald Trump, Qasem Soleimani, Germany, Iran, United States
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