Iran’s most powerful general Qassem Soleimani was carrying a message about Tehran’s desire to resolve tensions with Saudi Arabia when he was killed by an American drone strike last month.

Iran wants to resolve differences with Gulf states Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates “as quickly as possible”, Tehran’s ambassador to Iraq told the Iraqi state news agency in an interview published on Tuesday (local time).

Ambassador Iraj Masjedi said that commander Qassem Soleimani, who was killed at Baghdad airport in a strike ordered by United States President Donald Trump in early January, was carrying a message setting out Iran’s position on possible rapprochement with Saudi Arabia, the news agency reported.

“Tehran welcomes Iraq’s role in trying to solve differences between Iran and Saudi,” Mr Masjedi was quoted as saying, referring to recent Iraq efforts to mediate between the regional rivals, expressing Iran’s “wish to resolve differences and challenges with Saudi and the UAE as quickly as possible”.

Iraq’s state news agency published excerpts from the interview in Arabic.

Soleimani’s message that he was meant to deliver when he arrived in Baghdad on January 3, the day he was killed, set out Tehran’s position on “fighting terrorism and achieving peace and security in the region,” Mr Masjedi said.

The killing of Soleimani has been a blow to Iran’s regional strategy.

Soleimani was the mastermind behind Iran’s control, through proxy militia forces and political alliances, over a corridor of territory stretching from Tehran through Iraq to the Mediterranean via Syria and Lebanon.

The US said it was determined to counter Iran’s influence in the region and has imposed sanctions and targeted its paramilitary forces.

Saudi Arabia has proved a strong ally to the US. Last month Saudi’s Vice Minister of Defence said the country stands “with brotherly Iraq” and will do everything in its power to spare it the danger of war.

The funeral for Soleimani resulted in a stampede that killed more than 50 people and injured more than 200 others.

In response to the killing, Iran launched an attack on bases housing US troops in Iraq on January 8.

The Pentagon later said 50 US service members were diagnosed from traumatic brain injury after the missile strikes.

That same day, Iran shot down a Ukranian passenger plane, killing all 176 people on board.

Source » abc