18:01 GMT20 January 2021
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    Top Iranian General Qasem Soleimani was assassinated in January on the direct order of US President Donald Trump, prompting retaliatory airstrikes from Iran targeting US military bases in Iraq.

    The head of the World Assembly of Islamic Awakening Studies Center, Hossein Akbari, told reporters on Monday that the late Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) General Qasem Soleimani defused three major US plots in the Middle East "that could affect the entire world".

    “The Americans pursued at least three major projects in the region, each of which could have far-reaching implications for the world and impact on the entire world. But Martyr Soleimani thwarted their plots", Akbari said during a press conference at Mehr News Agency Headquarter.

    According to Akbari, the first American "plan" was allegedly referred to "the Great Middle East" in which they intended "to occupy the Islamic world and force the whole Islamic world to give up their values". This "goal" was allegedly to be achieved through Iraq occupation, but, Akbari noted, "their plan in Iraq failed and was thwarted".

    “The second plan of the Americans was the ‘New Middle East’ plan in which they wanted to divide the countries of the Islamic world into 200 small units and deprive them of their national power to force the people of these countries to follow them. They also started implementing this plan from Lebanon, and according to them, the beginning of the war in Lebanon was a prelude to the ‘New Middle East’ plan,” Akbari claimed.

    The third alleged plan, according to the pundit, involved "bringing ISIL* to the Middle East".

    "By bringing ISIL to the Middle East, they wanted to create a full-fledged, long-lasting war in the Islamic world for at least 50 years, as well as chaos among the Islamic countries. It can be clearly said that world security owes much to Gen. Soleimani in the ISIL issue", Akbari said.

    When asked about the possibility of Iranian retaliation for Soleimani's death, Akbari asserted that "hard revenge" is still being considered.

    “Our revenge will not be just militarily, but it will be in all dimensions, especially software,” he noted.

    His comments come as the anniversary of Soleimani's killing looms, echoing remarks made earlier by other Iranian officials.

    IRGC Brigadier General Mohammad Hejazi hinted last week that "harsh revenge will be taken" in retaliation for Soleimani's murder, along with the similar statements from Ayatollah Khamenei, who said that the revenge "will certainly at the right time".

    Soleimani, along with a senior Iraqi militia commander, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, was killed on 3 January by direct order of US President Donald Trump. The assassination escalated tensions between Washington and Tehran which had already risen after Trump withdrew the US from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2018.

    After Soleimani's death, Iran carried out airstrikes against US military bases in Iraq that resulted in traumatic brain injuries of dozens of American soldiers, but caused no deaths or serious injuries.


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