3 Jan 2020 13:27

U.S. to use Tehran's reaction to Soleimani's killing as pretext for more aggressive anti-Iranian policy - Russian MP

MOSCOW. Jan 3 (Interfax) - In the wake of the assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, the United States will prepare the public for a more aggressive policy against Iran, First Deputy Chairman of the Russian State Duma's Foreign Affairs Committee Dmitry Novikov told Interfax on Friday.

"I don't think that this will provoke immediate military action, but it's quite obvious that this is one of the episodes of stoking tensions," he said.

The situation surrounding Soleimani's killing "will be used to prepare public opinion inside the U.S. for an even more aggressive policy toward Iran," he said.

"The relevant structures of the U.S. have listed Russia, the Communist Party of China, and Iran among their imminent threats", Novikov said.

"So, they're consistently acting as part of what they call threat preemption, for now choosing Iran as an easier target," he said.

General Soleiman was killed in a missile strike on Baghdad International Airport. The Pentagon has said that the operation to assassinate Soleimani was carried out by the U.S. military at the direction of U.S. President Donald Trump.

"At the direction of the President, the U.S. military has taken decisive defensive action to protect U.S. personnel abroad by killing [Quds Force commander] Qassem Soleimani" to protect U.S. personnel abroad, the Pentagon said in a statement.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Friday vowed "severe revenge" for Soleimani's killing.

"[...] a severe revenge awaits the criminals who have stained their hands with his and the other martyrs' blood last night. The loss of our dear General is bitter. The continuing fight and ultimate victory will be more bitter for the murderers and criminals," he said, declaring three days of mourning in the country.