January 11, 2023

Soleimani’s Legacy: Corruption at Home, Death and Destruction Abroad

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by Farhad Rezaei, Senior Research Fellow

The Iranian regime’s effort to sustain and mobilize the myth of Qassem Soleimani, as seen last week in renewed calls for vengeance, is a transparent attempt to manipulate the Iranian population.

Three years after the death of Qasem Soleimani, the notorious commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards-Quds Force (IRGC-QF), the Islamic Republic continues to invoke his “martyrdom” for its malign and self-serving purposes. Six months after ongoing plots against U.S. officials became public, President Ebrahim Raisi reiterated the call on January 3, 2023, for vengeance on the anniversary of his death. The broader veneration of the departed general includes an array of titles: as “the commander of hearts,” “incorruptible,” and “national hero” who “fought and destroyed the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS)”—all designed to reinforce the regime while playing fast and loose with the truth.

The facts speak of an entirely different man. Soleimani didn’t fight ISIS so much as he presented his Shiite militias as saviors of both Iraq and Iran…