Foundations of Iran’s Regional Power Laid by Gen. Soleimani: Commander

Foundations of Iran’s Regional Power Laid by Gen. Soleimani: Commander

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Late Iranian commander Lt. General Qassem Soleimani played a key role in strengthening the Islamic Republic’s regional position and power and building up the Resistance Front materially and spiritually, an Iranian general said.

Commander of Khatam al-Anbia Headquarters Major General Gholam Ali Rashid conducted an interview with the Persian website of on the fourth anniversary of the martyrdom of General Soleimani.

Major General Rashid is one of the senior commanders of Iran’s Armed Forces and one of the people who had been with Lt. General Soleimani since the years of the Sacred Defense (Iraqi-imposed war on Iran in the 1980s).

The following is an abridged version of this interview.

Question: What role did General Soleimani play in strengthening and developing the missions of the Quds Force?

General Rashid: From the very beginning, the US army’s extensive presence in Afghanistan and Iraq was deemed a major threat to not only Iran but also other nations in the region. However, thanks to the efforts of our brothers in the Quds Force who were under the command of General Soleimani, the revolutionary forces in the region managed to turn this threat into an opportunity. As a result of the occupation in Afghanistan, the Taliban group was ousted from the government. (But) with the assistance of the Quds Force to our Afghan Mujahid brothers, the United States failed to establish its desired government in Kabul. The Mujahid forces and the popular forces, including the Sunnis, Shiites and Farsi-speaking people, who were all friends of Iran, created the main part of the government, and in the past two decades, the eastern part of Iran has not faced any major issues. The victories achieved in Iraq were considerably more substantial, but this topic requires thorough discussion and time does not permit us to delve into it at this moment.

Question: Could you please tell us about Martyr Soleimani’s role in fighting and defeating the Daesh terrorist group?

General Rashid: Daesh was and is a group created by the CIA, the British, Saudi and Mossad (spy) services. This group was created with the support of the US government and some regional and Arab countries, took advantage of the riots in Syria and the weakness of the Iraqi Army and the Iraqi security forces and was able to occupy parts of Syria and Iraq. With the measures he took, Martyr Soleimani made the governments of Iraq and Syria hopeful about the possibility of defeating Daesh, and this issue was very important in the first step of the battle. It was necessary to take advantage of Iran's experience in utilizing people as Basij forces, which General Soleimani effectively employed in Syria and Iraq. In Iraq, following a fatwa that was issued by Ayatollah Sistani, a wave of sending young people to fight against Daesh began. Appropriate training and organization were imperative to prepare these forces for battle against the Daesh militants. General Soleimani and other Iranian and Iraqi commanders brought together these mighty forces and led them in the war against Daesh. Today, Hashd al-Shaabi, which has become a tried and tested army, is the result of this endeavor.

Question: In your opinion, why is the character and personality of a military commander referred to as a "school of thought" and a truly "instructive school" by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khamenei? Additionally, he (Imam Khamenei) stated in another place that, "Martyr Soleimani was not just a national hero. He was the region’s hero. The role that Martyr Soleimani played in solving the problems of several countries in the region was significant and unparalleled.” He also said, “Martyr Soleimani is more dangerous for his enemies than General Soleimani.” What is your analysis on this?

General Rashid: General Soleimani was one of the students of Imam Khomeini’s (RA) school of thought, who, in the field of jihad and armed combat, was able to draw attention to and bring the characteristics of this school to the fore in West Asia. What is important and necessary in this school of thought, is relying on God, selecting the right objective, strategic planning and courage.

He was shaped and raised under the influence of Imam Khomeini's school of thought during the Sacred Defense period. One of the miracles of the Islamic Revolution was that it transformed a talented young villager into a national hero. During the Revolution, a large number of young people from the city and the countryside found the opportunity to reveal their abilities and talents. Some of these people were martyred and others are busy providing service to people in different parts of the country. Thus, it would not be at all an overstatement to refer to General Soleimani as a regional hero as stated by the great Leader of the Islamic Revolution, because God granted him the opportunity to be recognized as an Iranian general throughout the region.

The fact that the US president at the time (Donald Trump) accepted responsibility for his (General Soleimani’s) martyrdom signifies the importance of his (Soleimani’s) position. He wanted to portray himself as a hero for killing Soleimani. However, he failed to note that he could not use the popularity of martyr Soleimani to his own advantage. The response of the Iranian nation and other nations in the region showed how despised the US president – whose hand was stained with this pure blood – is in the eyes of the nations.

Martyr Soleimani’s funeral procession in Iraq and Iran revealed both the greatness and popularity of the General as well as the hatred that people felt towards Trump. An important point that needs to be stressed in the words of the Leader of the Islamic Revolution is that Martyr Soleimani should not be depicted as a figure who has a supernatural and unattainable aspects. Because firstly, it discourages the youth and future generations from following in his footsteps. Secondly, it makes the enemy feel proud by believing that it has destroyed Iran's capabilities in the region. Thirdly, the truth is that the Islamic Revolution has produced numerous individuals like Martyr Soleimani. Some of them have been martyred, such as Martyr Hemmat, Martyr Bakeri, Martyr Zainuddin, Martyr Kharrazi, Martyr Ahmad Kazemi, Martyr Boroujerdi, Martyr Sayyad Shirazi, etc. And praise God, a number of them are still alive. Thus, the Iranian nation is not and has not been devoid of such heroic figures.

One thing to note is that General Soleimani’s role in the region is closely tied to the relationship and chain of command in the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Armed Forces. General Soleimani took pride in and truly believed in the fact that he was a pure follower of Imam Khamenei, the Commander-in-Chief of the Iranian Armed Forces. Therefore, when we speak of the regional position and power and the role of Martyr Soleimani in strengthening this immanent phenomenon, i.e., the Resistance Front, both materially and spiritually, or when we acknowledge the role of Martyr Soleimani in maintaining, equipping and advancing regional power, we cannot mention it without associating it with the leader of this defense-security strategy and foreign policy (that is, the fundamental strategy of the regional position and power). The owner of this defense-security strategy is the Commander-in-Chief of Iran’s Armed Forces. The main architect of this strategy is the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, with General Soleimani serving as the on-ground commander within this regional framework.

If we were to mention two great achievements in the field of defense and security, apart from the many activities of the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, we can confidently say that the command and guidance of the Leader over the past three decades has led to two magnificent achievements.

Firstly, our beloved Iran has been protected from disintegration and war (foreign invasion). At least six wars against the territorial integrity of the Iranian nation have been prevented.

The second accomplishment is our regional power and position and our ability to deter potential threats.

Over the past three decades, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution taught us, the commanders of the Armed Forces, that the main way to prevent war in the country constitutes two basic things: One is to continuously increase the strength and combat readiness of the Armed Forces (the Army and the IRGC) and to take threats seriously and to prepare ourselves for war. The second thing is that we need to maintain regional power beyond our borders by fostering alliances with the nations of the region who admire the ideals of the Islamic Revolution.

General Soleimani was one of the dozens of commanders of the Sacred Defense period. Just like them, he gained valuable experience in war from forming popular defense powers, the main foundation of which was initially laid by Imam Khomeini (RA) after the victory of the Islamic Revolution. After the war, during the last three decades, the guidance and instructions from the Leader of the Islamic Revolution were regularly used to protect and advance the region, and General Soleimani served as the fieldman of regional power. As per the instructions of the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Martyr Soleimani should not be presented to society – especially the youth of the current and future generations – as a figure who had a supernatural and unattainable aspect.

Question: After the martyrdom of Haj Qassem, people still demand his revenge against those responsible for it. What is your analysis about the revenge for the assassination of General Soleimani?

General Rashid: It is a well-established tradition that whoever harms the Islamic Republic cannot escape punishment. Sooner or later, by the grace of God, the perpetrators of these crimes will definitely be punished for their actions. If we take a look at all the criminals and perpetrators of crime against the Iranian nation in the past four decades, revenge has been taken on all of them. Trump, Pompeo and the other perpetrators who were responsible for this heinous crime should look at the fate of both the Iranian nation’s foreign and domestic enemies who were sent to hell.

Question: In general, how do you evaluate the future of the Resistance Front?

General Rashid: The future of the Resistance Front is bright in all aspects. The efforts undertaken by the enemies are of a more despairing and weaker nature than in the past. But on the other hand, we have the youth who have become aware of the nature of the enemy and have come to believe in their own abilities. They are shaping the future better than before.

Question: Considering the frequent threats of the Zionist regime and the US, in the event of a confrontation, what consequences will the Islamic Republic of Iran’s response to these threats have for them?

General Rashid: The Zionist regime knows that if the military threat is carried out, Iran will not sit and watch. It will respond strikingly and decisively, without any hesitation. We will not say what our response will be but in response to an attack by the Zionist regime, we will not set any restrictions on our commanders regarding the quality, quantity or form of retaliation that will occur against the occupied lands of Palestine.

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