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Johnson backs Trump after US assassinates Iranian General

31st Jan 2020
Johnson backs Trump after US assassinates Iranian General

 Iran’s General Qassem Soleimani and Iraq’s Deputy Chief of the Popular Mobilisation Committee, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis (Credit: Hossein Velayati/Farsi News Commons)

Hamed Chapman

In his first public comment since the US assassination of Iranian military leader, General Qassem Soleimani, Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, endorsed the killing and within days reversed British policy to support President Donald Trump’s attempt to sabotage the international Iranian nuclear agreement, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The General of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was assassinated along with Iraq’s Deputy Chief of the Popular Mobilisation Committee, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, in a gratuitous American drone strike at Baghdad International Airport, which Trump boasted that he had personally ordered.

Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, described the state assassination as an “act of international terrorism” and that the US bears “responsibility for all consequences of its rogue adventurism.” Soleimani, he said, was “the most effective force fighting terrorist groups, Daesh (ISIS), Al Nusrah, Al Qa’ida et al.”

“Soleimani’s martyrdom will make Iran more decisive to resist America’s expansionism and to defend our Islamic values. With no doubt, Iran and other freedom-seeking countries in the region will take his revenge,” a statement from Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani also said.

Iraq’s outgoing Prime Minister, Adel Abdul-Mahdi, said that the assassinations were an act of “aggression” against his country and a “massive breach of sovereignty.” Soleimani, who he said he was due to meet, was on a “peace mission” to discuss a diplomatic rapprochement that Iraq was brokering between Iran and Saudi Arabia at the request of Trump.

In a non-binding resolution, which the Prime Minister supported, Iraq’s Parliament called on the Government to expel foreign troops from the country and end the agreement with Washington to station 5,000 US troops there, which Abdul-Mahdi also supported.

There was a worldwide condemnation of the killings, even US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, who said Trump had “tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox”, while fellow Democratic hopefuls Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders warned the assassinations could spark a disastrous new war in the Middle East.

There was no initial response in Britain from Johnson until he returned from holiday when he dodged questions during Prime Minister’s question time about the legality of the US killings, but claimed that “most reasonable people,” would think the operation was justified.

Labour Leader, Jeremy Corbyn, warned the US attack had greatly destabilised the region and challenged Johnson if he had any evidence the assassinations were legal when accusing him of being “unable to stand up to President Trump” because of his need for a swift post-Brexit trade deal with Washington.

In an extraordinary U-turn by the British Prime Minister, Johnson went from signing a joint statement with France and Germany calling for the retention and restoration of the Iranian nuclear deal (JCPOA) to calling for it to be scrapped and replaced by a ‘Trump deal.’
In an interview with the BBC, the British premier said he recognised the US concerns the 2015 deal was “flawed” but there had to be a way of stopping Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons. “If we’re going to get rid of it then we need a replacement, let’s replace it with the Trump deal.”

In a retort to the assassinations, Iran eventually responded in what was described as a ‘carefully measured’ way by carrying out token missile strikes on two US airbases in Iraq but with a warning so no one would be killed. It, however, coincided with a tragic accidental shooting down of Ukraine passenger plane at Tehran Imam Khomeini Airport killing all 176 people on board.

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Over 120 people attended a landmark conference on the media reporting of Islam and Muslims. It was held jointly by The Muslim News and Society of Editors in London on September 15.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence event is to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to society. Over 850 people from diverse background, Muslim and non-Muslim, attended the gala dinner.

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