The US President Donald Trump’s decision to kill Iran”s powerful Revolutionary Guards commander General Qasem Soleimani was designed to prevent further bloodshed and was defensive in nature, his National Security Advisor Robert O”Brien has said.
O’Brien alleged that Soleimani, who was traveling around the Middle East, had just come to Iraq from Damascus where he was planning attacks on American soldiers, airmen, marines, sailors and American diplomats.
Soleimani, 62, the head of Iran’s elite al-Quds force and architect of its regional security apparatus, was killed when a drone fired missiles into a convoy that was leaving the Baghdad International Airport early on Friday. The strike also killed the deputy chief of Iraq’s powerful Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary force and some local Iran-backed militias.
He was widely seen as the second most powerful figure in Iran behind Ayatollah Khamenei. His Quds Force, an elite unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, reported directly to the Ayatollah and he was hailed as a heroic national figure. Iran has pledged retaliation.
US National Security Advisor O’Brien, commenting on the killing, said: “This was designed to prevent further bloodshed. This was a defensive action”.