By Aram Mirzaei for the Saker blog
On Tuesday, Iran’s Parliament (Majlis) unanimously passed a motion designating the Pentagon and all subsidiaries terrorist after the US military assassinated Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, a senior Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) commander, on President Donald Trump’s direct order.
All the 233 lawmakers present at an open session of the parliament on Tuesday unanimously adopted the triple-urgency motion, which amends an earlier law that labeled American forces based in West Asia — known as the United States Central Command (CENTCOM) — as a terrorist organization.
The motion branded as terrorists all staff members of the Pentagon and subsidiary companies and institutions in addition to those who commanded and perpetrated General Soleimani’s assassination.
The amendment further urges the government to allocate 200 million euros from the National Development Fund of Iran to the IRGC’s Quds Force, now led by Brigadier General Esmail Ghaani following General Soleimani’s martyrdom. The initial version of the law was passed in April 2019 as a counter-measure against Washington’s blacklisting of the IRGC. This next step now designates all of the US military as the terrorists that they truly are.
Meanwhile, in what seems to be a tit-for-tat move, the United States refused to issue a visa to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who was about to leave for Thursday’s meeting of the UN Security Council.
Zarif explained that his ministry had “weeks ago” requested a visa to take part in the January 9 Security Council meeting on the importance of upholding the UN Charter, rejecting as false claims by American officials that they did not have time to process the application.
“The Americans are trying to create the impression that our request to attend the meeting was put forth following the assassination of General Soleimani. He [Secretary of State Mike Pompeo] has told UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres that they couldn’t issue the visa due to shortage of time. Whereas the request had been sent several weeks in advance,” he noted.
The US visa denial comes in outright violation of the terms of a 1947 UN Headquarters agreement which requires Washington to allow foreign officials into the country for UN affairs. Not that Washington gives any damn about international law…
Iraqi forces to meet about forming united front against US military: report
The Iraqi paramilitary groups are holding a meeting in the next 24 hours to discuss the formation of a united front against the U.S. military inside the country, Al-Mayadeen reported this morning.
Citing the spokesperson for Harakat Al-Nujaba, Nasser Al-Shammari, Al-Mayadeen reported that the meeting will be held by the leaders of the resistance factions of Iraq.
“The leaders of Iraqi resistance groups will convene a meeting either today or tomorrow to declare the formation of a united front against the US [military] presence. It is better for us (resistance factions) to join forces and deal with Washington, which classifies us in the same category,” Nasr al-Shammari said in an exclusive interview with Lebanon-based Arabic-language al-Mayadeen television news network.
“The battle has now moved to the heart of Washington’s allies in the region, which are pushing for attacks targeting us. The term international terrorism applies to the United States once it came to our region and occupied it,” Shammari added. He noted that the blood of General Soleimani and Muhandis frustrated all US plots against Iraq, emphasizing that his group had always been skeptical about US actions in the Arab country.
“The American presence in Iraq is harmful to military operations against Daesh and the country itself… We will go to war against the American military presence wherever possible in the region,” Shammari said. It has also been reported that the meeting will be held in Tehran rather than in Iraq due to security issues in Iraq, with the US forces still present there.
This meeting comes just two days after the Iraqi Parliament voted to expel the U.S. Armed Forces and all foreign troops from Iraq. The decision to form a united front, if successful could be very very important for the Resistance Axis. Only through a united front can they successfully kick the US out of the region.
In a related event Yemen’s Ansarullah movement has called for the same unified front.
This is a statement that Member of Ansarullah’s Political Council, Mohammad al-Bakhiti made.
– the coming days will bring huge changes to the region
– the American aggression against Iraq is an aggression against the entire Axis of Resistance, which requires for unifying the theatre in which the response will be delivered
– of course Sayyed Abdul Malik al-Houthi (Yemen’s Ansarullah leader) has already stated that this aggression is an aggression against the entire Axis of Resistance
– Yemen is a member of the Axis of Resistance, and we are at the heart of the conflict with this American coalition
– the American aggression will lead to the expansion of the conflict’s scope
– what we require now is greater coordination (between the members of the Axis of Resistance)
– as for the nature of the response, this is left for the leadership
– (yet) there is no response that can equal this (American) aggression other than popular, political and military action that drives out (all) US forces from the region
Iraq PM confirms receiving ‘signed’ US pullout letter
Amid confusion over a reported US letter to Iraq announcing the steps its military would take to move out of Iraq, Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi confirms that Baghdad has actually received “signed and translated” copies from the US Army concerning the withdrawal.
In a televised cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Abdul Mahdi clearly refuted all US claims that the letter had been sent by mistake or it had been inauthentic.
Earlier, various news agencies reported that Brigadier General William Seely, who oversees US Task Force Iraq, had sent a letter to the head of Iraq’s Joint Operations Command on Monday, suggesting potential withdrawal of the forces belonging to a US-led coalition, which has been operating in Iraq since 2014 under the pretext of fighting Daesh.
US Defense Secretary Mark Esper later denied that the US military had announced preparation for “movement out of Iraq,” and the Pentagon claimed that an unsigned draft version of the letter had been sent by mistake. Abdel Mahdi, however, said he had received signed and translated copies at 8:00 p.m. local time (1700 GMT) on Monday.
The letter discussed “redeploying with an aim to withdraw from the country. The expressions were very clear,” he said. “It was an official letter written in such a manner,” the premier told ministers.