ATHENS - Reverting to his anti-American stance again after he said his former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA administration made ties with Washington the closest they had ever been, major opposition leader Alexis Tsipras denounced the assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in a drone strike in Iraq, the US saying the military leader was a terrorist and had been behind the killings of hundreds of American troops over the years.
US President Donald Trump - to whom Tsipras had cozied up while in power - ordered the hit to prevent what the American leader said were plans for attacks, including on US embassies.
But Tsipras, who also reneged on promises to end an American military presence in Greece - he wanted to increase it - and to take Greece out of NATO before helping the defense alliance, met Iranian Ambassador to Greece Ahmad Naderi and condemned the killing.
“The execution of the Iranian General is a violation of international law and contributes to the further destabilization of Iraq and the broader region,” he said, ripping the US for what he said was a violation of the principle of non-intervention in affairs of other countries.
The leftist leader met with Naderi following an invitation by the envoy to discuss developments in the Middle East and particularly in Iraq, where Soleimani was killed in a targeted US drone strike in Baghdad on Jan. 3.
“The Iranian Ambassador presented his country’s position on the execution of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in Iraq by American forces and the consequences this would have on the area,” Tsipras told the state-run Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA-MPA.)
Tsipras and his party had been virulently anti-American before taking power and then changing position in seeking US help in dealing with Greece’s economic crisis before reaching out for a stronger military cooperation as well when Turkey was increasing provocations in the Aegean and East Mediterranean near Greece.