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Iran's Ambassador compares Qasem Soleimani to Michael Collins and says Shannon Airport is 'not a target'

Mahmoud Islami was speaking at a briefing at Iran’s Embassy in Dublin.

Iranian Ambassador to Ireland Mahmoud Islami.
Iranian Ambassador to Ireland Mahmoud Islami.
Image: TheJournal.ie

THE IRANIAN AMBASSADOR to Ireland has said that Shannon Airport and Trump’s properties in this country are “not considered to be targets” for Iranian retaliation.

Mahmoud Islami was speaking at a briefing at Iran’s Embassy in Dublin in which he said there was ‘no justification’ for the ‘outrageous State sponsored terrorism’ that saw the United States kill Iranian general Qasem Soleimani. 

The US has said that Soleimani was responsible for the deaths of innocent civilians and US service personnel and was behind plans for more attacks.

Ambassador Islami said anger in Iran over the assassination of the general was not directed at “ordinary people of any country, particularly a friendly country like Ireland”. 

Asked whether the US military’s use of Shannon Airport meant it could be considered a potential target for retaliation, Islami said it would not be in Iran’s interests to do so. 

“In principle that is part of Iran’s self-defence, to target military bases around Iran that are in a position to immediately attack Iran or to facilitate the invasion on Iran. I will rule that out for the time being, this is a very far speculation and we are very far from such a situation,” he said. 

He added: 

I can assure you that for the time being under this current circumstances, that is not an issue at all. And at the same time, in principle, we will ask the authorities to reconsider the use of Shannon Airport to facilitate military action by the US. 

Returning to the issue later, he said that in no way is Shannon Airport a target:

It is not good to make final statements or make people worry, make governments worry about something which is which is not there yet, which is not a concern. So, this is a sensitive issue and again, I can assure you that targeting personal properties of Trump, or cases like Shannon Airport are not considered to be targeted for Iran’s retaliation or measures that are going to be taken against the deliberate attacks by the United States.

Speaking about the assassination of Soleimani, the envoy said that Donald Trump has sought to “justify the unjustifiable” by making erroneous claims about the general. 

He claimed that Soleimani was in Iraq for “an official diplomatic political mission” and was scheduled to meet with the Prime Minister of Iraq. 

Michael Collins

Islami said it is “difficult to find analogies” to explain the “pain and sorrow” felt by “tens of millions of people around the world” because of Soleimani’s death, but that Ireland’s feelings towards Michael Collins are comparable.

They refer to the kind of feeling that the Irish people have towards General Michael Collins, as the legendary icon of resistance and bravery, devoted his life to fight against foreign intervention, foreign domination and foreign sponsored terrorism. The assassination of General Soleimani was an outrageous state sponsored terrorism which was carried out by direct order by a head of state and was not in the battlefield. 

Islami added that both Collins and Soleimani “fought for the interests of their people” and were involved with “repelling the foreign intervention which undermined their security”.

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Rónán Duffy

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