The United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at a recent news conference said that the Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani was not in Baghdad on 'peace mission' when US killed him in a drone attack. Pompeo further blamed Soleimani for December 27 rocket attack in Iraq in which a US civilian contractor was reportedly killed. He also added that the attacks planned by Soleimani 'were going to lead, potentially, to the death of many more Americans'.
At the news conference, Pompeo said, “Is there any history that would indicate that it was remotely possible that this kind gentleman, this diplomat of great order - Qassem Soleimani - had travelled to Baghdad for the idea of conducting a peace mission? We know that wasn't true”.
Pompeo further also accused Iran of 'actively working to undermine the peace process by continuing its global effort to support militant groups'. On January 7 Pompeo also slammed former Supreme Leader of Iran Ayatollah Khomeini's regime and stated that his "corrupt regime should listen to the people of Iran."
The United States was founded on tolerance. We have great respect for Persian history and its symbols, like Persepolis, Naqsh-e Jahan Square, and the Tomb of Cyrus. @khamenei_ir’s corrupt regime should listen to the people of #Iran. They want their culture and their country back.— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) January 7, 2020
Pompeo's comments come amid recent series of events between US and Iran. The tensions between both the countries have escalated ever since the killing of Iranian military General Qassem Soleimani. On January 8, the Ain al-Asad airbase in Iraq that houses the US and coalition forces has been hit by multiple rockets. This also follows the development where the pro-Tehran factions in Iraq vowed to join forces and respond to the US for the killing of Iranian General.
The longstanding tension between Iran and US surfaced again as the Iranian General was slain by the US in an airstrike near Iraq's Baghdad International Airport, ordered by US President Donald Trump on Friday. Post this, Iran had threatened "harsh retaliation" and subsequently, two airstrikes were reported near US Embassy in Baghdad’s Green Zone on Saturday and Sunday. Following the developments, Trump said that the US would strike 52 sites in the Islamic Republic if any Americans were harmed.