A column published Sunday in PressTV, an Iranian regime media outlet, blamed the CIA and Israel’s Mossad intelligence service for the September 11, 2001, attacks and accused “Evangelical Christian fascist” Vice President Mike Pence of lying about Iranian terror chief Qasem Soleimani’s ties to the attacks.
PressTV and its other English-language Iranian regime media partners have spent the weekend claiming that Soleimani, former head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force (IRGC-QF), was a “champion for peace” and anti-terrorism strategist. In reality, Soleimani, as head of the Iranian military wing responsible for foreign terrorist operations, was the chief strategist behind policies that led to the mass murder of civilians in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, and beyond, and is believed to be responsible for hundreds of American deaths.
A U.S. airstrike on Soleimani’s convoy last week eliminated him and the founder of the Hezbollah Brigades guerrilla, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. Both are believed to have orchestrated the mob attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad two weeks ago that followed a U.S. airstrike on militias responsible for the death of an American citizen.
PressTV author Stephen Lendman, identified as the host of the Progressive Radio News Hour, lauded Soleimani on Sunday as a “redoubtable figure” and “warrior for peace,” the latter in part for helping Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad stay in power through mass killings of civilians. According to Lendman, Soleimani was helping “combat the scourge of US-supported terrorism — in an advisory role.”
Soleimani was “on the side of the angels against the scourge of imperial wars,” the article later declared.
The author goes on to insist that all evidence that Soleimani orchestrated significant terrorist activity, killing thousands of people and was planning imminent attacks on American citizens are part of “Big Lies and deception,” paramount among these lies the allegation that Soleimani had aided some of the September 11 terrorists with paperwork to travel to the United States.
As part of an extensive threat detailing Soleimani’s crimes – which included the attempted assassination of a Saudi ambassador on American soil and ongoing support to the Taliban in Afghanistan, Pence noted that Soleimani “assisted in the clandestine travel to Afghanistan of 10 of the 12 terrorists who carried out the September 11 terrorist attacks.”
Assisted in the clandestine travel to Afghanistan of 10 of the 12 terrorists who carried out the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States.
— Mike Pence (@Mike_Pence) January 3, 2020
Lendman alleged that no evidence existed for this claim and added that no evidence existed tying Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda to the attack, despite bin Laden openly taking credit for the attack.
“Evangelical Christian fascist Mike Pence falsely accused Soleimani of ‘assist(ing) in the clandestine travel of 10 of 12 terrorists who carried out the September 11 terrorist attacks,'” Lendman wrote. “Allegedly 19, not 12, individuals were involved in the 9/11 mother of all false flag attacks — wrongfully blamed on Osama bin Laden and ‘crazed Arabs.’ It was carried out by the CIA and Mossad.”
There is no evidence linking the CIA or Israel’s Mossad to the September 11 attacks, though 9/11 “trutherism” has become a recognizable belief in the conspiracy theory community in the decade since the attack.
Lendman then went on to insist that “no Islamic Republic [Iranian] officials have been involved in terrorist attacks anywhere — a US, NATO, Israeli specialty, not how Iran operates.”
“Iran hasn’t attacked another country in centuries! The Islamic Republic seeks regional peace and cooperation with other nations,” his article insisted.
Iran has taken on a leadership role in helping keep Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad in power – a leader known to have repeatedly engaged in the use of chemical weapons against civilians. The Iranian regime also provides aid to the Houthi rebel terrorist organization in Yemen, whose civil war against the legitimate government there has resulted in famine, mass starvation, and other human rights atrocities.
More concretely, Iran was found responsible for the deadliest attack on the Western Hemisphere prior to September 11, 2001, the 1994 bombing of the Argentine-Israel Mutual Association (AMIA) in Buenos Aires. Interpol still maintains “red notices” – requests to arrest – against six members of the Iranian government at the time, including Soleimani’s predecessor at the helm of the Quds Force.
Soleimani himself was responsible for planning the attempted 2011 assassination of the Saudi ambassador to the United States in Washington.
The airstrike against Soleimani occurred in the aftermath of a failed mob attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad organized by pro-Iran militias in the county. The attackers spray-painted “Soleimani is my commander” on the walls of the building to highlight their allegiance to the Quds Force commander; despite the mild vandalism, the protesters failed to injure or kill anyone. Soleimani had been actively engaging the Iraqi government for months on how to subdue anti-Iran protesters, believed to be orchestrating government sniper attacks to kill civilians demanding Iran stop violating Iraq’s sovereignty.
On Friday, following the news of the airstrike late Thursday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told CNN the U.S. government had evidence that Soleimani had organized a new plan to kill Americans.
“[Soleimani] was actively plotting in the region to take actions… that would have put dozens if not hundreds of American lives at risk,” Pompeo said.