Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) notorious Quds Force, said on Saturday that U.S. sanctions against Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif were a result of American desperation.
Soleimani made his remarks during a supportive meeting with Zarif, seen by the previous U.S. administration as a “moderate” secular official who strongly opposed the theocracy Soleimani serves with murderous enthusiasm.
Soleimani called the Trump administration’s sanctions “insane” and a “sign of the White House’s absolute defeat.”
“The U.S. act of sanctioning you proved that you, as chief of the country’s foreign policy, have a deep impact on public opinion, especially on the American people with regard to the ignorance of that country’s leaders,” Soleimani told Zarif, as quoted by the Tehran Times.
Soleimani said Zarif attracted “U.S. wrath and hostility” by associating with Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has also been designated for U.S. sanctions.
Zarif responded by making fun of the sanctions and insisting they will “have no effect” on him because he and his family “have no property or interests outside of Iran.”
The Tehran Times quoted Hessameddin Ashena, an advisor to President Hassan Rouhani, portraying the friendly meeting between Soleimani and Zarif as a sign of growing Iranian unity against U.S. sanctions.
“The Iranian nation has one leader, one president and one general staff of the armed forces. There’s no B-Team in Iran. Rest assured,” said Ashena, using Zarif’s preferred term for the combination of hawkish American advisers and Iran-hating foreign leaders who have supposedly led President Donald Trump astray.
Ashena also repeated Zarif’s claim that he was only slapped with U.S. sanctions because he refused to attend a “mere photo op” with Trump at the White House.