Statue of Iranian general Soleimani torched hours after unveiling

Statue of Iranian general Soleimani is torched hours after it was unveiled by Tehran officials to mark two years since he was assassinated in a US drone strike

  • Qassem Soleimani statue  torched hours after it was unveiled in Shahrekord, Iran
  • Commander was assassinated in US drone strike in Baghdad on January 3, 2020
  • The statue was erected to mark two years since the Iranian commander’s death
  • Iran state media reported the statue torched by ‘unknown individuals’ in evening

A statue of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani has been torched hours after it was unveiled by officials to mark the second anniversary of his assassination.  

Soleimani, who headed the Quds Force, the foreign operations arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, was killed on January 3, 2020 in Iraq in a US drone strike at Baghdad airport along with his Iraqi lieutenant and others.

On Wednesday morning, a statue to honour him was unveiled in Hazrat Qamarbani Hashem Square in the southwestern Iranian city of Shahrekord. 

But by the evening it had been set on fire, ISNA news agency reported, calling it a ‘shameful act by unknown individuals’.

‘This treacherous crime was carried out in darkness, just like the other crime committed at night at Baghdad airport,’ when Soleimani was killed, senior Muslim cleric Mohammad Ali Nekounam said in a statement carried by the Iranian state media. 

Iranian authorities have unveiled several sculptures dedicated to Soleimani since his assassination two years ago, and portraits of the revered commander dot the landscape across Iran. 

A statue of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani has been torched hours after it was unveiled by officials in Shahrekord, central Iran, to mark the second anniversary of his assassination

On Wednesday morning, a statue to honour Qassem Soleimani (pictured) was unveiled in Hazrat Qamarbani Hashem Square in the southwestern Iranian city of Shahrekord

State broadcaster IRIB condemned the latest attack as an ‘insulting’ act, that comes as Iran marks the second anniversary of Soleimani’s killing, with several events in recent days.

Saudi Arabia’s Arab News reported the statue was torched by Iranian opposition movement the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, though this was not confirmed.

The English language daily cited Ali Safavi, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, saying the ‘resistance units’ torched the statue because they ‘despised Soleimani’.   

Qassem Soleimani, who headed the foreign operations arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, was killed on January 3, 2020 in a US drone strike at Baghdad airport along with his Iraqi lieutenant (pictured, a ceremony to mark the second anniversary of Solemani’s death)

Iranian Women hold pictures of Qassem Soleimani, during a ceremony to mark the second anniversary his death on January 3

On Thursday, thousands of Iranians also paid tribute to 250 ‘unknown martyrs’ killed in the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war.

Ceremonies were held across the country, AFP reporters and state media reported.

‘We are always suffering from the loss of martyrs, like Hajj Qassem [Soleimani], because they all fought on the frontlines with their heart,’ Ali Asghar, a mourner in Tehran, said. 

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