French And Italian Neo-Nazis And White Supremacists Promote Pro-Iran, Pro-Hizbullah Posts, Present Slain IRGC Qods Force Commander Soleimani As Role Model

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January 18, 2023

Qasem Soleimani, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike at Baghdad International Airport on January 3, 2020, had since 1998 been commander of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF). On January 3, 2023, on Telegram, supporters in Europe of Iran and Hizbullah commemorated the anniversary of Soleimani's death, holding him up as a role model. Several French and Italian neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups also posted pro-Soleimani posts.

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On the Telegram channel of a French-language ultranationalist website, a post referencing an article published on the website notes that Soleimani received "tributes from Iran to Gaza and from Iraq to Lebanon." It quotes Naim Qassem, deputy secretary-general of Hizbullah, as declaring that "confrontation will not stop. Soleimani is a martyr," and Daoud Shehab, Palestinian Islamic Jihad spokesman, as praising Soleimani for providing Gaza with rockets: "The martyr Hajj Qasem [Soleimani] played an important role in Palestine through his direct support for the Palestinians. He went to Gaza through underground tunnels and performed a miracle there by building factories that produced rockets and missiles that protected Gaza."

Another ultranationalist Telegram channel, run by a conspiracy theorist and antisemite, forwarded a post from a pro-Iran and Hizbullah Telegram channel. The post advertised a lecture presenting the assassination of Soleimani as a challenge to international law, to take place the following day in Geneva.

The Telegram channel of an Italian neo-fascist youth movement posted an image glorifying Soleimani on the anniversary of his death. The image contains a photo of Soleimani, his name, and several Iranian flags. The channel wrote: "[...] If you want to evaluate the strength or weakness of an individual, evaluate what they are related to. On January 3, 2020, General Qassem Soleimani, pasdaran [guardians] of the Iranian revolution, was assassinated in Baghdad by a US drone."

An Italian ultranationalist revolutionary Telegram channel posted a graphic promoting the launch of a book that presents Soleimani as a fighter of "international terrorism." The graphic features an image of the book's cover. The launch was scheduled to take place in mid-January.

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