New Era editor Chrispin Inambao interviewed the Ambassador of Iran to Namibia, H.E Vahid Karimi, in the aftermath of the recent assassination of Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani by US armed forces in Iraqi.
CI: What will happen in the Middle East with the terrorist act that resulted in the killing of the Major General Qasem Soleimani, as the General was widely credited with defeating some of the most dangerous terrorist groups such as Daesh or ISIS?
VK: As you mentioned, the martyrdom Soleimani defeated the terrorists but it now looks like Mr (Donald) Trump wants to bring back the terrorists of Daesh into the Middle East. For more than half a century, US presence in the Middle East had nothing but problems. They are supporting terrorist groups in the region; they are supporting dictators in the region – they invaded Iraq and Syria, and they created Daesh; they are claiming that they are looking for freedom and democracy.
CI: Isn’t America bound to the fundamental principles of international law, as this assassination would clearly have been classified as blatant state terrorism had it been committed by any another state?
VK: It looks like Trump is a unique president: he disobeys even the internal laws of the United States. The procedure for his impeachment inside the country is going on; it looks (like) he wants to distract the attention from his impeachment and wrongdoing – that is why he is doing something wrong in the Middle East. Yes, he is not only violating international law, but his misbehaviour was an act of war.
CI: Won’t this attack that has been widely condemned lead to an escalation and even widespread war in the Middle East, where the situation is already volatile?
VK: Yes, you see if he doesn’t get any response, he (Trump) will be more aggressive; he just shows he doesn’t understand any logic. What the US is doing in the Middle East, they never had any good recall of action in Afghanistan, Syria and in Iraq. What is the use of having them in the region? It has become a daily base violation of the sovereignty of the countries in the region by the United States. There is going to be a campaign of the US out of the Middle East.
CI: In your view, why would the Americans say they do not want to go to war with Iran and yet act to the contrary with the assassination of General Soleimani – for that matter, at an airport in Iraq?
VK: That is why nobody can trust or believe the US administration. Unfortunately, there is a wrong man in the White House, which is very dangerous to the existing peace and security of international relations.
CI: In your view Ambassador, why is America having thousands of troops and beefing its troop presence in the Middle East?
VK: This question has to be asked to the US authorities. What they are doing in that region, thousands of miles from the US homeland, they are disturbing the daily life of the region. It has been for more than half a century and we think enough is enough. They are not a normal state. They have a fight with China; they have a fight with Russia. They are bullying and harassing smaller and weaker countries to deal with Iran.
CI: Iraqi lawmakers have voted they do not want any more foreign troop presence in their country, particularly American troops. What is your take on that?
VK: Yes, they are right and we support them. Naturally, if the Americans go out, all other foreigners shall leave Iraq. As you know, the Americans brought Daesh mercenaries from Europe and America. They brought them in the region and they were getting close to our border with Iraq, so it was martyrdom Soleimani who fought them back. In fact, soldier Soleimani defeated Daesh and it looks like the American administration could not tolerate it.
CI: How do you assess the Trump administration compared to its predecessors on the way it is handling the situation in the Middle East, factoring in the latest assassinations and military threats towards Iran?
VK: Totally destructive! It is a wrong policy, and freedom-loving countries have to come in. The international community should not keep quiet. It is against international peace and security; it is against the UN Charter – it is totally disastrous.
CI: Is it a coincidence the assassinations of Major General Qasem Soleimani and others came while there is an incoming Senate impeachment trial for President Donald Trump, with more Americans disapproving rather than approving of his presidency, and an American presidential election scheduled for later this year?
VK: There are some ideas that are inter-located to each. Congress alleges Mr Trump is misusing his office; they say he is not fit for the Office of President. He is acting against American interests, so they want to get rid of him – to kick him out of the White House, but it looks like he is trying to deviate attention from his own internal problems.
CI: Trump’s presidency has been characterised by no clear foreign policy, could the assassinations be political opportunism. He justified the assassinations saying they are part of his efforts to fight global terrorism and he accused the late general of having caused the deaths of many American troops. What is your comment on that?
VK: It is not the first time Trump is lying. In his own country, he is very popular for lying and creating fake news – he lies and lies. To prove my argument, martyrdom Soleimani was fighting Daesh, and Mr Trump himself said the Obama administration created Daesh – and then I leave the judgment to yourself to decide who is lying. I consider the United States as a hard power with no brain; they get money from dictators and they act as mercenaries for them. They are being manipulated by dictators, and that is the sad story.