By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — A statue erected to honor top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani has been torched by unknown assailants hours after it was unveiled in southwestern Iran, domestic media reported on January 6.
Soleimani, who headed the elite Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, was killed on January 3, 2020, in a U.S. drone strike at Baghdad airport.
Earlier this week, a statue to honor him was unveiled in the southwestern Iranian city of Shahrekord. But it was set on fire in the evening, Iranian media reported.
“This treacherous crime was carried out in darkness, just like the other crime committed at night at Baghdad airport,” when Soleimani was killed, Shahrekord Friday Prayers Leader Mohammad Ali Nekounam said in a statement published by the semiofficial ISNA news agency.
Iranian authorities have unveiled several sculptures dedicated to Soleimani since his assassination two years ago, and his portraits dot the landscape across Iran.
State broadcaster IRIB condemned the latest attack as an “insulting” act, that comes as Iran marks the second anniversary of Soleimani’s killing.
Soleimani was considered a main architect of Iran’s Middle East military strategy and his assassination brought the United States and Iran close to a military conflict. Tehran retaliated by launching a missile strike targeting U.S. forces in Iraq.