Secretary of State Mike Pompeo ridiculed the idea that the deceased Iranian general Qassem Soleimani was on a peace deal trip to Baghdad, labelling the idea “Iranian propaganda”.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Sec. Pompeo answered a question pertaining to the Soleimani trip to Baghdad, which Iranian sources had claimed was a “de-escalation” visit.
Calling the reporting “fundamentally false”, Pompeo asked reporters in the room, “Anybody here believe that?”
The gaggle of reporters appeared to laugh along with Pompeo in response to the question, admitting no one believes the Iranian spin.
The original report appeared in the Washington Post, then on the Daily Mail with Associated Press and AFP bylines, and claimed:
Qassem Soleimani, the Iranian Quds Force commander who was killed in a US drone attack in Baghdad on Friday, was in Iraq to negotiate a de-escalation in tensions with Saudi Arabia, according to the Iraqi prime minister.
Abdul Mahdi slammed the Americans on Sunday for what he called a ‘political assassination’ in targeting Soleimani.
Abdul Mahdi suggested that the Iranian military leader was in Baghdad as part of Iraqi-mediated negotiations with Iran’s main regional rival, Saudi Arabia.
He said that Soleimani was going to meet him on the same day that he was killed.
‘He came to deliver me a message from Iran, responding to the message we delivered from Saudi Arabia to Iran,’ Abdul Mahdi told The Washington Post.
The Iraqi leader did not provide any further details.
Tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia have been high since September, when Iran was blamed for an attack on Saudi oil facilities.