The United States “committed a big crime” by killing Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s new foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian told the Baghdad Conference for Cooperation and Partnership on Saturday.
Tehran’s representative to the gathering organized to help reduce tensions in the region, emphasized that Iran helped Iraq defeat Sunni extremist Islamic State group and praised Tehran’s close ties with Baghdad.
Soleimani, who was Islamic Republic’s top operative in the region, playing a central role in expanding its proxy network and influence, was killed by a US drone strike in January 2020.
Most Sunni Arab Guld states, as well as Jordan and Egypt participate in the Baghdad conference that French President Emmanuel Macron helped organize. They are concerned about Iran’s push to expand influence among Shiites in the region and arm groups in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and elsewhere.
Amir-Abdollahian, however claimed that his country is fully committed to peace and stability in the region. He also praised the decision of the “Iraqi people for the exit of foreign forces”, a reference to remaining US forces in the country.
Diplomats hoped that the conference night be a good opportunity for Iran and Saudi Arabia to continue contacts they started earlier this year to reduce tension in their relations.Saudi Arabia is represented by its foreign minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, but so far there are no details of a possible bilateral meeting.