DONALD Trump was right to kill “irreplaceable” Qasem Soleimani and the terror general’s demise will hasten the fall of the regime, Iran’s exiled opposition has said.
Tehran’s top military strategist – understood to be the mastermind behind bombings and killings across the Middle East – was blasted in a US drone strike last week.
His assassination sparked revenge missile attacks on US bases in Iraq, with Tehran then shooting downing a passenger plane which jittery air defence troops are thought to have mistaken for a US bomber.
But an exiled Iranian opposition group has hailed the US president for taking out Soleimani in an exclusive interview with The Sun.
Shahin Gobadi, of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, told Sun Online: “The elimination of Qasem Soleimani will expedite the fall of the regime.
“The wheels of change will move faster. His shoes are too big for anyone in the regime to fill.”
Referring to images of the country’s supreme leader sobbing over the general’s coffin, he added: “That’s why you saw Ayatollah Khomeini was crying like this – he was crying over the fate of his regime.”
Mr Gobadi said the Ayatollah’s grip on power was now “weaker than it has ever been”.
When people heard the news of Soleimani’s elimination they were rejoicing in the streets.”
Shahin Gobadi, of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
He said: “This regime survived for 40 years on two pillars: repression at home, terrorism and belligerence throughout the world.
“And guess who personified these two aspects? Qasem Soleimani. And now he’s gone.”
He also slammed the “weak” policies of the EU and Trump’s predecessors like Barack Obama in “appeasing” the fanatics in charge.
And he called for the world to follow the US president’s “tougher” lead, as making concessions had only “emboldened” Iran.
He said: “The mullahs in Tehran felt the West was weak and they took the West for a ride.
“All the concessions that were made to them over the years were used by the most vicious, most brutal factions of the regime – people like Qasem Soleimani.”
Mr Gobadi’s comments were echoed by Trump himself this week when he said Iran responded to the generous terms of the nuclear deal by “chanting death to America”, adding that Iran’s involvement in terrorism has only worsened since.
The activist also said the numbers of people at Soleimani’s “stage-managed” funeral were exaggerated and the majority of Iranians “despised” him.
He said: “Qasem Soleimani was one of the worst criminals in Iranian history.
“He was responsible for massacring hundreds of thousands of people throughout the region and displacing tens of millions more.
Iran: Democracy or dictatorship?
Iran presents the face of a democracy, with a parliament and a president elected by the people.
But the real power in the country lies with the supreme leader – the Ayatollah – and his conservative cleric backers.
The presidential candidates in any election are vetted by a council of clerics chosen by the supreme leader and the judiciary, called the Guardian Council.
This council can also overrule laws made by the country’s parliament.
And it’s the supreme leader, not the president, who controls the armed forces and makes decisions on security, defence and major foreign policy issues.
Ayatollah Ali Khomeini has been the supreme leader since 1989.
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“In Iran, he was in charge of putting down protests and murdering the protesters.
“No wonder when people heard the news of his elimination they were rejoicing in the streets of Iraq, Lebanon and throughout the region. And in Iran people did the same.”
Footage appears to show Iranians dancing in front of televisions in their living rooms as the general’s death was reported on the TV news.
Soleimani was killed by an airstrike at Baghdad International Airport[/caption]