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Blunt on Soleimani: “A Determined Enemy of Freedom, Democracy, and the United States of America Has Been Eliminated”

January 07, 2020

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) spoke on the Senate floor in support of President Trump’s action against Iranian Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani, the mastermind of Iran’s terror efforts around the world. 

Following Are Excerpts From Blunt’s Remarks:

“Mr. President, Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force, was killed by U.S. forces last week. That's already been well discussed and well understood. The failing regime in Iran has done everything it could between his death and right now to make the most of it, to make him a martyr to the cause of terrorism.

“And I think we should all understand that the cause of terrorism was his cause. He is not a general in any traditional sense of what that would mean. Though he's been described a number of different ways. He's been referred to as Iran's top general.

“Don't think for a minute that means anything like almost any other country's top general. One newspaper called him Iran's most revered military leader, that might be true. But remember Iran's purpose as a state is to encourage terrorism all over the world. …

“He was, in fact, a bad person. He spent his career largely outside the boundaries of what any civilized nation would consider of what you could do or how you could behave.

“He led Iran's terrorism agenda around the world. They funded and provided weapons to the Shia militias in Iraq. They provided arms depots and military forces to the Assad regime in Syria. They supported Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon. They provided advanced weapons to the Houthi rebels in Yemen. Hundreds of U.S. military personnel in Iraq were either killed or injured by the IED attacks, encouraged and funded by Iran in Iraq. That's what the Soleimani agenda was all about. Over just the past year, Iran has continued his campaign of aggression against the United States and our allies, and in almost every report of these activities, Soleimani is one of the persons that's mentioned as again structuring, masterminding, encouraging, taking credit for these things as they happened in some cases and denying responsibility and others that he and Iran were responsible for.

“Last June, Iran shot down a U.S. intelligence drone flying in international space. In July, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps captured a British flagged commercial vessel in the Strait of Hormuz. Iran was behind the attack on Saudi oilfields last September using drones and cruise missiles. Earlier, Iran had been behind an attack on a Saudi airport used by civilians. Quds Force also launched a crackdown on Iranian citizens to protest oil prices, and are also vigorously seeking out others who are complaining about the failing economy in Iran, in a failing system. …

“I'm not at all sympathetic to the idea that this action to eliminate this individual somehow came out of the blue. … The president was criticized most of the last year, because, going down that list of things I mentioned, that he was hesitant to act was the criticism until last week. The same exact critics in many cases decided, after a year of thinking what would be the best response, then the president did act and that's suddenly a hasty action. You go from a hesitant action to a hasty action, if you’re looking for a way to criticize the president.

“Now the president took his action after an American contractor was killed by forces associated with Iran and Soleimani, after the U.S. embassy in Baghdad was attacked, and weapons were used to get into the building. There have been some suggestions that we shouldn't have done this because we should be afraid of how Iran will react. …

“Soleimani was not a high ranking military official in any acceptable military structure. If your idea of a leading general is a general that leads in terrorist efforts, I think you've got the wrong idea of what a military leader is supposed to do.

“Soleimani was not a high ranking government official in any job that a responsible government would have. Soleimani was the mastermind of terrorist activities of the number one state sponsor of terrorism in the world today. Soleimani has been eliminated and hopefully will be impossible to fully replace.

“I'd say in response to that decision, good job to the U.S. forces that executed the strike, and good job, Mr. President, in being willing to make the call. A bad person, a determined enemy of freedom, democracy, and the United States of America has been eliminated. It's time the Iranians started thinking about what our next action might be instead of just quietly and vigorously planning on what their next action might be.”   

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