William Barr, Attorney General of the United States, stated Monday that assassination of the Iranian General Qasem Soleimani was an “act of self-defense.”
Speaking at press conference devoted to a probe into last year shooting at the US Naval Air Station, Barr was asked about killing of the Soleimani and whether there were any consultations held. Barr said that the US President Donald Trump had held consultations with the Department of Justice prior ordering the strike. The AG also noted that, in his opinion, Trump “clearly had the authority to act as he did.”
“We had a situation where the Iranians had already embarked on a series of escalating violent actions taken against our allies, taken against the American people, our troops, with the avowed purpose of driving us out of the Middle East,” Barr said. “They had attacked shipping in the Strait of Hormuz, they had attacked oil fields in Saudi Arabia, they had attacked U.S. Bases, they had attacked our embassy, they had killed Americans.”
Barr went on to state that Iran kept “crossing red lines” and “could attack” the US “with impunity,” therefore, Soleimani, who allegedly organized the attacks and was planning more, was “clearly a legitimate target.”
“We had a very brief window of time to carry out the attack when he arrived in Baghdad to plan and orchestrate follow up attacks on American interest,” Barr said. The AG then claimed that the attack was “a legitimate act of self-defense because it disrupted ongoing attacks that were being conducted—a campaign against the Americans.”
“And it reestablished deterrence, it responded to attacks that had been already committed,” Barr said. “Our purpose and our expectation was not to trigger a broader conflict or events which spin out of control. On the contrary, we believe that the strike would restore deterrence and help avoid a continuing upward spiral of the violence.”
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Soleimani was a terrorist with a lot of American blood on his hands. “He killed 600 of our American patriots. I knew some of these young men. He is the mastermind of the most recent attacks on our forces in Iraq,” Pompeo said.
“I want to lay this out in context of what we’ve been trying to do. There’s a bigger strategy to this. President Trump and those of us in his national security team are re-establishing deterrence — real deterrence ‒ against the Islamic Republic. In strategic terms, this simply means persuading the other party that the costs of specific behavior exceed its benefits. That requires credibility – indeed it depends on it. Your adversary must understand that not only do you have the capacity to impose costs, but that you are in fact willing to do so. Let’s be honest. For decades, US administrations from both political parties never did enough against Iran to get the deterrence that is necessary to keep us all safe.”
Iranian officials stated that most of the Iranian citizens now crave for revenge and consider it their responsibility to bring damage to interests of the United States in the region of Middle East.
Natalia Veselnitskaya – official website