On January 3, 2020, Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Revolutionary Guards Quds Force (IRGC-QF) was killed in a U.S. drone strike. The Iranian regime has spent most of the year trying to portray him as a hero.
This has failed and even regime officials have been forced to admit it. In an anniversary program aired on state TV, Hossein Kamili, a cultural analyst linked to the regime, admitted that people across the Middle East actually celebrated Soleimani’s death by offering sweets to each other.
More recently, the posters of Soleimani that were plastered up in Gaza by Iranian agents were torn down and stamped on by the Palestinians, angry at his role in various Middle East crises, including the Syrian Civil War.
Ziyad al-Nakhalah, the Secretary-General of the Iran-affiliated Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine said on December 31, that Soleimani helped turn Sudan into a “weapons warehouse” and “transfer center” for regime-backed groups.
Of course, as much as Soleimani was hated by the people of the Middle East, that is only a fraction of how much he was hated by the Iranian people.
Following his death, people celebrated in their homes, but more than that, they also used various other protests following his death to display their hatred. They chanted, “Soleimani is a murderer, just like his leader”, during the January 2020 protest over the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC)’s intentional shooting down of a passenger plane and the subsequent coverup.
The U.S. killed #QassemSoleimani; but, he had abducted, tortured, and killed hundreds of thousands of people across the Middle East, particularly inside #Iran.
Just in November, he and his comrades killed 1,500+ protesters in Iran with impunity!
Look how much Iranians loved him👇 https://t.co/DOoRXJVaGb pic.twitter.com/iHhkULlUB8
— IranNewsUpdate (@IranNewsUpdate1) September 15, 2020
Why? Because Soleimani has a long and bloody history of suppressing protesters members of the opposition.
One of his former advisors, Esmail Saadatnejad, recounted in an interview on January 1 that during a meeting at Soleimani’s home in Kerman, they became aware of anti-regime protests against then-supreme leader Ruhollah Khomeini and Soleimani didn’t waste time considering his options, but rather “handled the situation” without delay, which translates into quashing the protests with violence.
Soleimani was also one of the main instigators of violence against the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) in camps Ashraf and Liberty in Iraq, including the September 2013 attack, which killed 52 MEK members and saw seven more abducted. He’d overseen the plans for the attack and then reported on it to the Assembly of Experts two days later.
He also staged countless rocket attacks against MEK members in Camp Liberty, killing dozens and wounding hundreds.
“Soleimani’s death was an irreparable blow for the regime since he was the key enforcer of the regime’s blackmailing policy and export of terrorism… Despite its enormous efforts and propaganda, the regime failed to change the truth. Soleimani went down in history as what he truly was: a vicious criminal and a symbol of 40 years of foreign terrorism and domestic repression,” wrote the PMOI/MEK official website on January 3.