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Aftermath of U.S. Assassination of Iran’s General Soleimani Still Has Not Fully Played Out

July 11, 2020 (EIRNS)—On July 9, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo went ballistic over a report by Agnes Callamard, the special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary execution, in which she called the U.S. drone killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Iraq on Jan. 3, 2020 “the first known incident in which a state invokes self-defense as justification for an attack against a government official outside a declared armed conflict.”

In the immediate aftermath of the killing of Soleimani, Schiller Institute founder Helga Zepp-LaRouche called for an urgent summit of the United States, Russia, and China, in which they should declare a joint plan for the development and industrialization of all of Southwest Asia. As a result of the U.S. drone strike, “the world is very probably on a spiral of retaliation and counter-retaliation, which spiral could be open-ended,” she said.

Callamard wrote that the strike targeting Soleimani was “qualitatively different” from other drone strikes that targeted non-state actors. “This is the primary reason the Soleimani strike is considered a watershed change in the conduct of extra-territoriality targeted strikes and killings,” she stated in the report, according to the Associated Press. “It is hard to imagine that a similar strike against a Western military leader would not be considered as an act of war, potentially leading to intense action, political, military and otherwise, against the state launching the strike,” she added.

“Ms. Callamard’s conclusions are spurious,” Pompeo blustered. “The strike that killed Gen. Soleimani was in response to an escalating series of armed attacks in preceding months by the Islamic Republic of Iran and militias it supports on U.S. forces and interests in the Middle East region.”

Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, commander of U.S. Central Command, told Bloomberg News in an interview that while there have been periods of quiet since January, he thinks the Iranians are still sorting themselves out as to what they want to do.

That may all be changed, however, by the recent spate of apparent attacks on Iranian industrial and military facilities, including a July 2 fire at the Natanz nuclear fuel enrichment facility. There have been a number of reports over the past several days attributing that incident to an Israeli attack, or to a combined U.S.-Israeli campaign to cripple Iran’s nuclear program and otherwise sow chaos among Iranian elites. The Middle East Eye cites several reports in the Farsi-language press quoting Iranian officials indirectly blaming Israel for the whole series of industrial incidents, including the Natanz fire.

Officially, Iran has not yet blamed anybody. “It is still too early to make any judgment on the main cause of the blast [in Natanz], and relevant security bodies are probing into every detail of the incident,” Abbas Mousavi, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said on July 10. If Iran concludes that foreign elements were involved, it will be announced, and there would be repercussions, he added. With hard-line political factions having gained new strength in recent parliamentary elections, the pressure for a retaliatory action of some kind may be growing in Tehran.

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