Zeinab Soleimani Early Life.
Zeinab Soleimani is the daughter of Qassem Soleimani, the Iranian Quds Force commander killed by the Americans. Soleimani was the commander of Iran’s extraterritorial Qods force, in charge of establishing militant networks throughout the Middle East and beyond. The United States designated him as a terrorist. Qasem Soleimani death sent shockwaves through Iran’s leadership and proxies in the region, especially in Iraq and Lebanon.
In an address broadcast on state television, Zeinab said: “Crazy Trump, don’t think that everything is over with my father’s martyrdom.” She added that a “dark day” would befall the U.S and Israel as a result of his death in Baghdad on Friday. Speaking at her dad’s funeral, in front of hundreds of thousands, who began to cheer, she said: “The families of US soldiers in the Middle East will spend their days waiting for death of their children.” Her threat was echoed by General Soleimani’s replacement, Esmail Ghaani, who has vowed to take revenge in an interview with Iranian state TV. He said: “We promise to continue down martyr Soleimani’s path as firmly as before with the help of God, and in return for his martyrdom we aim to get rid of America from the region.” Zeinab is believed to have four other siblings, one sister and three brothers, but little is known about them.
Zaynab Soleimani described the killing of her father as “a foolish act by America” and said that the event has united Muslims around the world. “They broke the fragrance bottle, but the scent is everywhere,” Zaynab Soleimani dramatized the impact of her dad’s death.
Who is Zeinab Soleimani?
Zeinab Soleimani was virtually unknown as a public figure before January 2020. She is the youngest child of Qasem Soleimani, a general in the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) who led its foreign arm, the Quds Force, and masterminded Iran’s armed intervention in the Middle East. After the commander was killed in a US drone attack on Baghdad’s international airport on January 3, Zeinab quickly emerged as his most visible offspring. Zeinab Soleimani, who is a regular on Instegram, the only major social media platform not blocked in Iran.
Emerging from obscurity, she is now easily a household name, and subject of dozens of media stories in Arab, Israeli, and Western media. Zeinab seems to have assumed the role of her slain father’s ambassador to Lebanese Shiites. She delivered a speech in an event organized by Hezbollah Women’s Affairs in Beirut on 23 January 2020. Her speech in which she said the “martyrs” of Hezbollah, and Iran were guardians of Khomeini, and Khamenei’s “values” was made in Arabic with “nearly perfect” Lebanese accent, which surprised many.
Qasem Soleimani’s daughter has posted a professionally-made video of her meeting with Nasrallah on Twitter. Her tweet is in Arabic and reads: “The spider nests of America and Zionists will collapse”.
Hezbollah Secretary General, Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah received daughter of martyr Qassem Suleimani, Zeinab, three weeks after the commander of the IRGC’s Quds Force was assassinated in a US strike on Baghdad International Airport.
In the video, Zeinab and the Hezbollah leader are shown speaking in a room filled large photos of Khamenei, Khomeini, Soleimani and Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, the leader of Iraqi Hashd who was also killed in the attack that killed the Commander of Iran’s Qods Force. The tearful Zeinab Suleimani appeared listening to Sayyed Nasrallah with full attention. “Allah has bestowed him with jihad, and blessed him with martyrdom. His end was the most beautiful one,” Sayyed Nasrallah told Zeinab, referring to the Hajj Qassem Suleimani.
Iranian state-affiliated news agencies have described the meeting as “genial”. Interestingly, in the video of the meeting the camera zooms on Zeynab’s hand and ring. Soleimani who was killed in a U.S. drone attack in Baghdad on January 3, wore a very similar ring at the time of his death, which helped identify his body.
Following her father’s martyrdom, Zeinab Suleimani saluted Hezbollah secretary general, voicing confidence that “uncle Sayyed Nasrallah” will avenge her father’s blood. Hajj Qassem Suleimani had a special relation with Sayyed Nasrallah. In a documentary released earlier by Al-Manar, Suleimani praised Sayyed Nasrallah as “devoted”, voicing readiness to sacrifice himself for the Lebanese Resistance leader.
Sayyed Nasrallah “is a real devoted man, all his existence is devotion. I love him. If I have nothing but a heart. I am ready to grant it to Sayyed Nasrallah. I am ready to grant it to two persons: (Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei), the Leader and Sayyed Hasan,” Hajj Qassem Suleimani said in the documentary. After his martyrdom, Sayyed Nasrallah called Hajj Qassem “master of Axis of Resistance’s martyrs”, stressing that the blood of the Quds Force commander and the commanders, who were martyred alongside him, will get the US forces out of the region. Hajj Qassem was martyred alongside Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, Deputy Commander of Iraq’s Hashd Shaabi paramilitary force, in a drone strike ordered by US President Donald, Trump on Baghdad airport on January 3, 2020.
A common theme contained in her Instegram posts, are praises sung about her father, and comparing him to historical Islamic figures such as the companions of Hossein, the third Shia imam who was killed in the historical battle of Karbala in Iraq in 680 AD. But, for those in circles close to Soleimani, Zeinab has long been well-known as an ardent devotee of her father, who often accompanied him on his numerous trips to the Arab world, including Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria.
In 2016, when visiting the family of an Iranian soldier killed in Aleppo, Syria, Soleimani briefly spoke fondly of his daughter. “I have a daughter who is a guerrilla in her own right,” he told them, according to the account they later published.
An Iraqi Shia militant mentioned Zeinab’s surprising presence by the side of her father, even during intense battleground trips in Iraq.
“She is very bright, speaks very good Arabic and English, and was clearly a favorite of her father,” the Iraqi follower of Soleimani explained to this author, speaking not for attribution. “We were all shocked at how often she’d accompany him on trips.”
“Zeinab resembles Hajji Qasem more than anyone in the world,” Nasrollah Jahanshahi, a fellow IRGC member who has been working as Soleimani’s personal driver since the 1980s, recounted in an interview with Sobhe Sadegh, an IRGC publication. “In both her attitude and behavior, she is very much like Qasem Soleimani.”
In the aftermath of Soleimani’s assassination in January, Zeinab became the public face of the Soleimani family, openly calling for Iran to avenge her father’s blood. Her older brothers, Mohammad Reza and Hossein, were also shown on state television but pride of place was given to Zeinab, who delivered a searing 10-minute speech at her father’s memorial in Tehran on January 6.
This was a calculated decision by the Iranian leadership that speaks not only to Zeinab’s rhetorical talents, but her symbolic presence. Soleimani’s daughter is named after Zeinab bint Ali, a sister of Imam Hossein and a key figure in Shia history. In 680 AD, after Hossein and his comrades fell to the armies of the Caliph Yazid in the Battle of Karbala, Zeinab led the caravan of survivors as they were taken as prisoners of war. She purportedly made a memorable address to Yazid in his Damascus palace, bemoaning him for straying from the path of the Prophet Mohammad. Shia political movements have idolized Zeinab as a symbol of resistance, and eloquence for years. Her shrine outside Damascus continues to be a focus of pilgrimage for Shia Muslims. Ali Shariati, an Iranian thinker who pioneered modern revolutionary Shia politics, is buried in the shrine, right next to Zeinab.
The symbolism of an eloquent speech given by a young woman named Zeinab, starting with verses of the Quran, and ending with her calling for revenge of her fallen father, was not lost to millions of Shias, and many other Arabs familiar with Shia imagery. Iran’s sophisticated media coverage put Zeinab in the spotlight from the outset. When meeting Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani, Zeinab asked him to avenge her father’s death. In an interview with the Lebanese television station, Al Manar, which is affiliated with the Shia militia group Hezbollah, Zeinab repeated the same request for revenge, this time, from her “uncle Hassan Nasrallah,” the secretary-general of Hezbollah.
In the fiery speech at the Tehran memorial, she addressed US President, Donald Trump with the same phrase her father had once used: “Trump the Gambler.” She said the US president was being “played by the Zionists”, and warned the families of US soldiers in the region that they should “spend their days, waiting for the death of their children.” She ended by listing five men that could help “destroy” Trump now that her father was gone: Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Ziyad Nakhale, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Iraqi Shia militant leader Abu Hassan Ameri, and Abdulmalek Houthi, the leader of the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. The Tehran speech was followed by a few more; she spoke at the Friday prayers in Kerman, a city in southern Iran where her father was buried, followed by another memorial speech in Beirut, given in fluent Lebanese Arabic, although, with a Persian accent.
Zeinab Soleimani Quick Facts.
- As the Quds Corps commander, Soleimani had strong involvement with Hezbollah in Lebanon and other militant groups. Iranian state media has shown multiple photographs of him alongside Jihad Mughniyah, the son of the infamous Emad Mughniyah of Hezbollah. His daughter, Zeinab Soleimani, has also been spotted alongside Fatima Mughniyah, Emad Mughniyah’s daughter.
- Zeinab Soleimani was named after the daughter of the first Shiite imam, Ali, and his wife Fatma (626-681 AD). As the only granddaughter of the Prophet Muhammad, the original Zeinab is regarded with great respect by both Sunni and Shiite Muslims. She is remembered for her steadfast resistance to oppression, and injustice as well as her courageous actions in battle, including protecting her nephew, the Imam Ali Ben Hussein, with her own body.
- The Iranian regime is now using her modern day namesake, Zeinab Soleimani, to persuade terrorist organizations, both Sunni and Shiite, to carry out attacks against the US. Its method is to play on the emotions of terrorist leaders through association with Zeinab’s revered ancestor. The Iranians are making propaganda videos with Zeinab, to stir terrorist groups in the region to take action against the US and Israel.
- On Friday January 10, 2020, on the first Jumma Prayer after Soleimani’s death, Zeinab was again chosen as the speaker prior to the prayer in the city of Kerman where Soleimani was born, and buried. Zeinab Soleimani asserted that the martyrdom of her father won’t break their will.
- Zeinab recently flew over to Lebanon to address Hezbollah’s cultural events in the memory of her father.
Fake News About Zeinab.
A number of social media users have circulated a faked photo attributed to an Iranian website, claiming that the daughter of Qassem Soleimani, ex-commander of Iran’s elite Quds Forces, holds the U.S. nationality. The image, attributed to Iranian website Dreshare, shows personal information of Zainab, Soleimani’s daughter, including her nationality and date of birth. In addition, a website named “Europe 24”, published a report titled, “Zainab, Soleimani’s Daughter, Says, ‘Death to America’ and Holds U.S. Nationality.” Zainab does not hold the U.S. nationality. In fact, the image was digitally altered to spread misinformation. Soleimani’s daughter has only the Iranian nationality.
Zeinab Popular Quotes.
“Trump, you compulsive gambler, your evil plan to cause separation between two nations of Iraq and Iran, with your strategic mistake in assassinating both Haj Qasem and Abu Mahdi, has failed, and it has only caused historical unity between two nations, and their mutual eternal hatred for the United States,” Zeinab Soleimani said. “Hey crazy Trump, you are the symbol of stupidity, and a toy in the hand of international Zionists,” she added in front of a large crowd at the procession. “This heinous crime committed by the Americans expresses the spirit of criminality, and bullying that covers all crimes of bloodshed, especially on the land of Palestine.”
“Haj Qassem’s spirit has been instilled in everyone’s body, and thousands, and thousands of Soleimani’s are ready to march on to the White House,” Zeinab Soleimani said.
Zeinab Soleimani Plans for the Future.
Could the young Zeinab help continue the path of her father by emerging as a charismatic leader in the region? Some of Zeinab’s Instegram posts show an attempt to appeal to a wider audience. One of them is accompanied by a song by Salar Aqili, a popular Iranian singer based in Tehran, who caused outrage in 2017, by giving an in-studio interview to the London-based banned satellite channel Manoto. Both for Iranian audiences and beyond, Zeinab has to shape a careful message if she wants to inherit her father’s popularity.
Qassem Soleimani Foundation.
Iranian Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appointed Zeinab Soleimani as the head of a newly established foundation named after Qasem Soleimani. State media carried a letter from a Khamenei representative on Saturday, congratulating Zeinab Soleimani on her appointment as the head of the “Qassem Soleimani Foundation.” Soleimani has been appointed as the head of the foundation by Khamenei, according to the letter.
The foundation will promote Qasem Soleimani’s thoughts, and beliefs as well as preserve and publish his works, according to the letter. It is unclear when the foundation was founded, or how much budget has been allocated for it. There had been no mention of the foundation prior to the news of Soleimani’s appointment on Saturday. Qassem Soleimani, who headed the Quds Force, the overseas arms of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), was killed in a US airstrike at Baghdad’s international airport in January. Soleimani’s daughter, Zeinab, came under the spotlight following her father’s assassination, calling for revenge in numerous media appearances.