Soleimani killing ‘act of defense’ against Iran: Former Italian foreign minister

Former Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi speaks at the State Department in Washington. (File photo: AP)

The killing of Iran’s top military commander Qassem Soleimani has Italy divided. Major political figures are voicing support for the US decision to carry out the drone strike that killed Soleimani, while other left wing media journalists are questioning the legality of the strike and consequences the action may have in the Middle East.

Italy’s former minister of foreign affairs Giulio Terzi told Al Arabiya English that Soleimani, in his role as leader of Iran’s proxy militias, represented “a threat to security for the West,” as well as the countries where Iran’s terrorist activities were being carried out.

“The attacks by Iran against oil facilities [in Saudi Arabia], ships and the downing of a US drone were signs of its escalating level of aggressiveness. For this reason I believe the elimination of Soleimani was an act of defense and deterrence against the Iranian threat,” said Terzi in an interview.

Terzi said he was trying to “bring balance” to the discussion in Italy, where major media figures like Enrico Mentana, are taking the opposite stance.

In an editorial, Mentana labelled Soleimani’s killing as “an illegal and dangerous act,” although recognizing Soleimani’s “responsibility for violent acts and his role as leader of numerous militia groups in the Middle East.”

Mentana blasted the US, saying the country is not “the world’s sheriff.”

“[The US] removed Saddam from Iraq handing the country over as a gift to Tehran: 16 years later, what will the Soleimani operation bring?” Mentana wrote in a piece published in Italian online news outlet “Open.”

Paolo Magri, director of the Italian Institute for International Political Studies, said the killing of Soleimani was an attempt by the Trump administration to restore “deterrence after substantial US inaction and to position itself in a position of strength vis-à-vis Iran.”

“I think [US President Donald] Trump is still determined to extract concessions from Tehran on a new nuclear agreement,” said Magri in an interview with Al Arabiya English, adding that the legitimacy of US action will remain a matter for international law experts.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:57 - GMT 06:57
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