Major General Qassem Soleimani at the International Day of Mosque via Wikimedia / Erfan Koucharia

Qassem Soleimani’s killing in US strike provokes mixed reactions from Czech officials

The killing of the Iranian Major-General was an extraordinary step in a complicated situation says Czech Foreign Minister Tomas Petricek

Prague, Jan 3 (CTK) – The killing of Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani, head of the elite Quds Force, was an extraordinary step in a complicated situation, Czech Foreign Minister Tomas Petricek (Social Democrats, CSSD) told journalists today.

The situation in the Middle East was further complicated and successes in the fight against international terrorism are threatened, Petricek said.

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“I consider the U.S. air attacks in Iraq an extraordinary step in a complicated situation. Courts should decide on guilt of people, but I am no expert in military tactics,” he added.

“However, just like the strike is certain to have been provoked by an attack on a (U.S.) base and embassy (in Iraq), the targeted killing of an (Iranian) military officer will not remain without a reaction,” Petricek said.

“As a result, the situation in the Middle East is becoming even more complicated instead of calming down. The fragile successes in the fight against Islamic State and international terrorism as such are jeopardised,” he added.

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Czech diplomacy has the main task of maintaining the security of Czech employees in Iraq, including the diplomatic mission, soldiers and police, Petricek said.

The Czech Republic has its embassy in Baghdad and the general consulate in Erbil. There are also training units of the Czech chemical warfare force and military police in Iraq.

Last night, the U.S. military killed Soleimani and some more persons, including an influential commander of Iraqi militias.

The attack was criticised by former foreign minister and now Culture Minister Lubomir Zaoralek (CSSD).

“The killing of Soleimani is a dangerous provocation that will escalate the situation in the region. With his flexing the muscles, (U.S. President) Donald Trump has created another problem before the forthcoming presidential election in the USA,” Zaoralek has tweeted.

The air attack was also condemned by Communist (KSCM) deputy chairman Stanislav Grospic.

“This is another aggressive act of the USA against a sovereign nation, which is Iraq. In the country facing internal disputes and in the whole region afflicted by a war with Islamic State, this act can further escalate tension and bring about another war conflict,” Grospic said.

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“Soleimani certainly was dangerous, but killing him this way will certainly not contribute to the de-escalation of the conflict with Iran,” MEP Mikulas Peksa (Pirates) said.

Deputy Jan Bartosek (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) said Soleimani’s killing was a difficult, but necessary decision because Iran was attacking ships and oil facilities in the region, developing ballistic arms. “At the moment, Europe should side with the USA,” he added.

Soleimani is a terrorist responsible for the deaths of many, Bartosek said.

The U.S. operation was also backed by MEP Jan Zahradil (Civic Democratic Party, ODS). He said Soleimani was one of the most dangerous people in the region in the long run.

“In Iraq, he maintained Iranian influence, commanded subversive operations against the USA. He died in a conflict Iran itself had actively provoked. The Iranian efforts to reach regional hegemony should be stopped,” Zahradil said.

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