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Malaysian PM: US killing of Iran commander immoral, Muslims must unite

Malaysian PM says killing of Iranian general is immoral, flouts international law

KUALA LUMPUR: Muslim countries should unite to protect themselves against external threats, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said yesterday after describing the US killing of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani as immoral.

Dr Mahathir also said the US drone attack on Major-General Soleimani was against international laws.

Maj-Gen Soleimani's killing in Baghdad last Friday has sparked fears of a broader conflict in the Middle East.

Dr Mahathir, 94, said it could also lead to an escalation in "what is called terrorism".

"The time is right for Muslim countries to come together," he told reporters.

"We are no longer safe now. If anybody insults or says something that somebody doesn't like, it is all right for that person from another country to send a drone and perhaps have a shot at me."

Dr Mahathir has tried to maintain good relations with Iran despite US sanctions on the Middle Eastern country.

An estimated 10,000 Iranians live in Malaysia.

Last month, Dr Mahathir hosted Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at a conference of Muslim leaders in Malaysia.

Dr Mahathir's recent comments on the treatment of Muslims in India and his criticism of the Saudi Arabia-based Organisation of Islamic Cooperation have soured Malaysia's relations with both New Delhi and Riyadh.

"I speak the truth," Dr Mahathir said. "You do something that is not right, I think I have the right to speak out."

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in an interview with CNN yesterday that Iran will respond proportionately to the US attack.

"This is state terrorism," Mr Zarif said of the killing of Maj-Gen Soleimani.

"This is an act of aggression against Iran, and it amounts to an armed attack against Iran, and we will respond. But we will respond proportionately - not disproportionately... We are not lawless like US President (Donald) Trump."

Mr Zarif also said Mr Trump had displayed a lack of respect for international law by threatening Iran's cultural sites.

Tragedy struck yesterday after a stampede among mourners during the funeral ceremony for Maj-Gen Soleimani left an estimated 40 people dead.

The incident, which took place in the Iranian city of Kerman, also left about 190 people injured. - REUTERS

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