Paris, Jan 3 : The killing of top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani in a US strike is an “irreparable blow” for Iran’s Islamic regime, the leader of a Paris-based exiled opposition group said Friday.
Soleimani was killed earlier Friday in a strike at Baghdad’s international airport, prompting Tehran to vow “revenge” and dramatically upping the stakes in bitter tensions between Tehran and Washington.
The killing is an “irreparable blow for the regime of the mullahs,” Maryam Rajavi, the head of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), said in a statement issued in Paris.
“It is now time to expel the mullahs from the region, in particular Iraq, Syria and Lebanon,” she added.
Rajavi accused Soleimani of being “one of the biggest criminals in Iran’s history” and “personally implicated in the massacre of thousands of people in the region.” “With his elimination, the process of overthrowing the mullahs’ regime will be greatly accelerated,” she added.
The NCRI, the political wing of the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI), has long pressed for the overthrow for the Iranian regime from its Paris base.
Its leaders had joined forces with Iran’s revolutionary founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to overthrow the shah in 1979, but the two sides rapidly fell out and the PMOI leaders fled the country.
The Mujahedin fought alongside Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in the 1980-1988 war with Iran, which led to them being declared “traitors” by Tehran.
Rajavi repeated the group’s claim that as many as 1,500 people were killed in recent nationwide protests in Iran — a figure denied by Tehran — and said it was time for the international community to stop a policy of “appeasement” with Tehran.