NEW DELHI, JANUARY 7: Iran Parliament has passed a bill, designating all US forces “terrorist” over the killing of a top military commander Qasem Soleimani in a US strike.
On Tuesday, Parliament speaker Ali Larijani said that open session in the previous anti-US law, CENTCOM was designated as a terrorist entity.
The triple-urgency motion is a modification of a previously ratified bill on April 23, 2019, that designated the US Central Command (CENTCOM) as a terrorist organization in retaliation to the same designation imposed on Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) by Washington, according to the Tehran-based Mehr News Agency.
On Friday, US President Donald Trump ordered the death of Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps considered a hero in the country, in order to “stop a war,” not start one.
“Today, following the cruel US measure in assassinating General Soleimani, the responsibility of which was accepted by the US President, we modify the previous law and announce that all members of Pentagon, commanders, agents and those responsible for the martyrdom of Gen Soleimani will be considered as terrorist forces,” Larijani was quoted as saying in the report.
Larijani further said, “All of Iran nation supports the resistance”.
The modified law also allows withdrawal of $223 million to the IRGC’s Quds Force from the National Development Fund of Iran for the next 2 months, Larijani added.
He said that the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s permission to withdraw the fund has been obtained, the Mehr report added.
Earlier on Monday, while responding to Trump’s threats to hit 52 Iranian sites if Tehran retaliates for the drone strike, President Hassan Rouhani took to Twitter and pointedly said, “Never threaten the Iranian nation.” And Soleimani’s successor vowed to expel US forces from the Middle East in revenge.
Iran had termed the US action of “international terrorism” as “extremely dangerous and a foolish escalation”.
General Qasem Soleimani was among the 8 people killed in a rocket attack by the US on Baghdad international airport.
Trump on Saturday vowed to strike 52 Iranian targets, including cultural sites, if Iran retaliates with attacks on Americans or US assets, and stood by his threat on Sunday, though American officials sought to downplay his reference to cultural targets.
The 52 figure, Trump noted, matched the number of US Embassy hostages held for 444 days after the 1979 Iranian Revolution.
The White House in a statement said that at the direction of the President, the US military took a “decisive defensive action to protect US personnel abroad” by killing Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, a US-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization.
Since 1998, Maj Gen Soleimani led Iran’s Quds Force – the IRGC’s elite unit which handles clandestine operations abroad.
In that position, Gen Soleimani played a key role bolstering Bashar al-Assad’s Iranian-supported Government in the Syrian Civil War, and in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) group in Iraq.
He was a hugely significant figure in the Iranian regime. His Quds Force reported directly to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
(TS with inputs from agency)