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US Assassination of Gen. Soleimani Has Made the Region "Safer": Saudi FM

Speaking in an interview with CNN on Monday, the Saudi foreign minister said he believed the US acted in "their own legitimate self-defense" when it assassinated General Soleimani. He also said he agreed with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the region was "safer" following General Soleimani's martyrdom. Lieutenant General Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), were assassinated in US airstrikes in the Iraqi capital Baghdad on January 3. Both commanders were admired by Muslim nations for their role in eliminating the Takfiri terrorist group of Daesh in the region, particularly in Iraq and Syria. The assassination was carried out upon the direct order of US President Donald Trump, who claimed the move was made to avert an "imminent attack." However, his claim has faced with growing suspicion and skepticism in the US. The Trump administration has so far declined to provide any evidence to substantiate its claim that the intelligence available led to General Soleimani's assassination. In his Monday remarks, the Saudi diplomat further claimed that he did not see any "change of behavior" from Iran following the US move. "The statements aren't positive. But we will continue to call on them to behave in a way that can support regional stability," the Saudi FM said. In similar remarks on Thursday, Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir had claimed that a restoration of ties with Iran will be possible when Iran "returns to a normal state." Speaking at a World Economic Forum panel in Davos, Switzerland, Jubeir accused Iran of “meddling” in Iraq’s internal affairs and said, "The Iranians have to show good faith, the Iranians have to change their behavior and their policies."

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