In this footage from a speech delivered in April, Qassem Suleimani the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps’ elite ‘Quds Force’ and of the Tehran regime’s regional military operations, claims that Iranian forces are present in Syria and Iraq to defend the shrines of venerated Shiite martyrs in both countries.
Speaking at an event entitled, “The Commemoration of the Defenders of the Martyrs’ Shrine” held in Tehran on April 27, Suleimani says, “The defense of the Sayyeda Zeinab tomb in Syria is actually the same as the defense of Imam Hussein’s tomb in Karbala [in Iraq]. I swear to God that the defense of Sayyeda Zeinab’s tomb is also considered to be the defense of Imam Ali’s tomb in Najaf in Iraq. I swear to God that if Syria falls into the hands of these forces [a reference to any forces opposing Iran or the Assad regime], then they will destroy all the venerated Shiite sites as they carried out bomb attacks in Samarra [in Iraq].”
He continues, “The defense of Sayyeda Zeinab’s tomb is also considered to be a defense of Imam Reza’s tomb in Iran. All these matters are interconnected with each other, so such defense is no ordinary or restricted defense. This is not an incomplete or easy decision, nor a minor decision. As Imam Khomeini said, ‘If you stand in the face of our religion, we will, with everything we have, stand against your world.”