Saudi FM says Middle East ‘safer’ after US assassination of Gen. Soleimani

Press TV – Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud has praised the US for assassination of General Qassem Soleimani, the hero of regional fight against Takfiri terrorism, claiming that his martyrdom has made the region “safer”.

Speaking in an interview with CNN on Monday, the Saudi foreign minister said he believed the US acted in “their own legitimate self-defense” when it assassinated General Soleimani.

He also said he agreed with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the region was “safer” following General Soleimani’s martyrdom.

Lieutenant General Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), were assassinated in US airstrikes in the Iraqi capital Baghdad on January 3.

Both commanders were admired by Muslim nations for their role in eliminating the Takfiri terrorist group of Daesh in the region, particularly in Iraq and Syria.

The assassination was carried out upon the direct order of US President Donald Trump, who claimed the move was made to avert an “imminent attack.” However, his claim has faced with growing suspicion and skepticism in the US.

The Trump administration has so far declined to provide any evidence to substantiate its claim that the intelligence available led to General Soleimani’s assassination.

In his Monday remarks, the Saudi diplomat further claimed that he did not see any “change of behavior” from Iran following the US move.

“The statements aren’t positive. But we will continue to call on them to behave in a way that can support regional stability,” the Saudi FM said.

In similar remarks on Thursday, Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir had claimed that a restoration of ties with Iran will be possible when Iran “returns to a normal state.”

Speaking at a World Economic Forum panel in Davos, Switzerland, Jubeir accused Iran of “meddling” in Iraq’s internal affairs and said, “The Iranians have to show good faith, the Iranians have to change their behavior and their policies.”

Reacting to the comments, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said a “normal” country does not refuse to talk.

Zarif tweeted that Saudi Arabia cannot be called a “normal” country when it caused a humanitarian crisis in Yemen and killed its dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the kingdom’s consulate in Turkey.

“‘Normal’ countries don’t operate abattoirs disguised as consulates. ‘Normal’ countries don’t attack their neighbors, cause a humanitarian crisis, and refuse to talk,” he said.

However, the top Iranian diplomat said Tehran was ready for talks without any preconditions.

“Nonetheless, WE don’t set preconditions for dialog,” he pointed out.