In the opening days of 2020, Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) Quds Force, was killed by a US drone strike outside Baghdad International Airport. Soleimani was traveling with a host of leading figures from Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), including deputy commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.
Afshin Rattansi, host of RT’s “Going Underground,” recently spoke with the slain general’s daughter, Zaynab Soleimani, who condemned outgoing US President Donald Trump and incoming US President-elect Joe Biden in equal terms.
General Soleimani’s Daughter Says There's No Different Between Biden & Trump, They Are Following Same Policy pic.twitter.com/5XoHhLtv8w— Fars News Agency (@EnglishFars) December 15, 2020
“There’s no difference between Biden and Trump, they are the same guy,” the younger Soleimani told Rattansi in an interview due to air on Wednesday. “They are following the same policy, there is no difference between them. Trump ordered the killing of my father, but Biden supported that, so there’s no difference.”
“No American will mourn Qassem Soleimani’s passing,” Biden said in a statement tweeted on January 2, when news of Soliemani’s death broke in the US. “He deserved to be brought to justice for his crimes against American troops and thousands of innocents throughout the region. He supported terror and sowed chaos.”
Trump claimed Soleimani, through the PMF and other groups, had masterminded terrorist attacks on US forces and was planning to attack four US embassies - claims senior administration and defense officials told the Washington Post were doubtful or exaggerated at best.
My statement on the killing of Qassem Soleimani. pic.twitter.com/4Q9tlLAYFB— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) January 3, 2020
In reality, Soleimani’s close association with the PMF stems from his leadership of Iran and Iraq’s joint fight against Daesh, in which the PMF played a major role in evicting the terrorist group from Iraq and its eventual downfall.
“After killing my father, America thought that everything will be stopped, because they killed General Soleimani, the power of the Middle East. But they are so wrong,” Zaynab Soleimani said.
However, Biden has also signaled his willingness to depart from Trump’s policy and return to the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran that Trump unilaterally torpedoed in 2018.
Earlier this month, Biden said “it’s going to be hard,” but he would resume cooperating with Tehran under the terms of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) "as a starting point for follow-on negotiations" if Tehran returned to the agreement’s constraints.
The deal stipulated that Iran would abandon its nuclear weapons program and retain only a small quantity of radioactive material for nuclear power plants and medical research, and in exchange the US and its allies would lower strangling economic sanctions against Iran. When Trump claimed against all evidence that Iran had broken the deal, the sanctions returned, crippling the country’s economy.
“[T]he last goddamn thing we need in that part of the world is a buildup of nuclear capability,” Biden added. “In consultation with our allies and partners, we’re going to engage in negotiations and follow-on agreements to tighten and lengthen Iran’s nuclear constraints, as well as address the missile program.”
Biden’s Iranian counterpart, President Hassan Rouhani, has signaled a willingness to cooperate, but noted that renegotiating the JCPOA was not on the table.
“The United States must return to the commitments it has already made,” Rouhani said at a Monday news conference. “[A]nd as we said before, if everyone returns to their full commitments, we will return to our full commitments ... I will not postpone it until the next hour.”
Biden was confirmed as president-elect by the US Electoral College on Monday and will be sworn in as US president on January 20, 2021.