23:26 GMT25 November 2020
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    US-Iran Relations Hit New Low After Killing of General Soleimani in Baghdad (146)

    On Friday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo argued that by neutralising Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps General Qasem Soleimani earlier that day, Washington managed to avert an "imminent" attack against America, saving US and Iraqi lives.

    Mike Pompeo has voiced frustration over European countries’ reaction to the US drone strike which killed a high-ranking Iranian General, a stance that the US Secretary of State insisted should have been more supportive.

    “Frankly, the Europeans haven’t been as helpful as I wish that they could be. The Brits, the French, the Germans all need to understand that what we did, what the Americans did, saved lives in Europe as well”, Pompeo told Fox News on Saturday.

    In this vein, he compared the European response with that of US “partners in the region”, in an apparent nod to Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

    “I spent the last day and a half, two days, talking to partners in the region, sharing with them what we were doing, why we were doing it, seeking their assistance. They’ve all been fantastic. And then talking to our partners in other places that haven’t been quite as good,” Pompeo said.

    He claimed that head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)’s elite Quds Force Qasem Soleimani “led assassination campaigns in Europe”, which is why his killing “was a good thing for the entire world."

    “We are urging everyone in the world to get behind what the United States is trying to do to get the Islamic Republic of Iran to simply behave like a normal nation,” he concluded.

    European States’ Cautious Stance on Soleimani’s Killing

    Most European countries have, meanwhile, showed a cautious and apprehensive reaction to Soleimani’s killing, arguing about the Iranian General’s destructive role in the region and calling for restraint.

    As far as the UK is concerned, though, The Sun reported that a UK Royal Navy nuclear-powered attack submarine will be “in position to strike Iran” if the current tensions between Tehran and Washington over the killing of an Iranian general result in a full-fledged armed conflict.

    HMS Astute, the British Royal Navy's latest nuclear hunter killer submarine
    © AFP 2020 / Andy Buchanan
    HMS Astute, the British Royal Navy's latest nuclear hunter killer submarine

    The sources cited unnamed UK defence sources as saying that even though there won’t be a first strike from an Astute-class hunter-killer sub armed with Tomahawk cruise nuclear missiles, every precaution is being made, depending on how Iran reacts to the death of Soleimani”.

    US-Iranian Tensions on Rise

    The developments come amid growing tensions between Washington and Tehran which escalated on 3 January, when Soleimani was killed in a US drone strike on Baghdad International Airport that was authorised by Trump.

    Iranian authorities immediately pledged “crushing vengeance” on Washington for killing the country’s top military commander who was described by Trump as the “number one terrorist anywhere in the world.”

    Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, in turn, slammed Soleimani’s killing as an “extremely dangerous, foolish escalation” and an act of “international terrorism”.

    US-Iran Relations Hit New Low After Killing of General Soleimani in Baghdad (146)


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