United President Donald Trump on Friday defended his administration’s decision to assassinate Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, alleging that he had contributed to “terror plots as far away as New Delhi and London”, CNN reported. Trump, who addressed reporters at his Mar-a-lago resort in Florida, was referring to the attacks on Israeli diplomats in Delhi in February 2012.

“Soleimani was plotting imminent and sinister attacks on American diplomats and military personnel, but we caught him in the act and terminated him,” claimed the US president. “Under my leadership, America’s policy is unambiguous to terrorists who harm or intend to harm any American. We will find you. We will eliminate you. We will always protect our diplomats, service members, all Americans and our allies.”

Trump alleged that Soleimani was behind recent attacks on American targets in Iraq, including rocket strikes that killed a US citizens and injured four American soldiers, and an attack on the US embassy in Baghdad, PTI reported. “Today we remember and honour the victims of Soleimani’s many atrocities and we take comfort in knowing that his reign of terror is over,” the president added.

“We took action last night to stop a war,” Trump insisted. “We did not take action to start a war. I have deep respect for the Iranian people. They are a remarkable people with an incredible heritage and unlimited potential. We do not seek regime change.” However, the president insisted that the Iranian government had to end its “aggression in the region, including the use of proxy fighters to destabilise its neighbours”.

Earlier in the day, Trump had said Soleimani should have been killed years ago. The Iranian military leader, who led the Quds Force, was the architect of the defence of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and backed Houthi rebels in Yemen in their fight against a coalition led by Saudi Arabia.

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