Iran said its arch-enemy the United States bore responsibility for the consequences after killing one of its top commanders, Qasem Soleimani, in an air strike on a convoy at Baghdad airport on Friday.
Soleimani’s assassination, that took place on a roadway in Baghdad airport, has threatened to further escalate the US-Iran conflict. The airstrike was Trump’s second military action against Iranian measures, that had grown steadily more audacious over the seven months they went unanswered.
US Democratic Congressional leaders gave statements denouncing and condemning President Trump’s ordered strikes, that murdered Soleimani, saying the President did not acquire the congressional approval and that the strikes would exacerbate the US-Iran conflict.
Soleimani was responsible for unthinkable violence and world is better off without him.
But Congress didn’t authorize and American people don’t want a war with Iran.
All steps must now be taken to protect our forces against the almost inevitable escalation and increased risk. https://t.co/Z4HTnScFg7
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) January 3, 2020
The current tensions started on December 27th, when the Iran-backed Kata’ib Hezbollah’s rocket assault on a U.S. base in Iraq’s north killed an American Civilian contractor.
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned of “severe revenge” for “the criminals who bloodied their foul hands with his blood”, and vowed that “God willing, his work and his path will not be stopped”.
Dear Iranian Nation!
Years of sincere, brave efforts fighting against the devils& villainous in the world & yrs of wishing for martyrdom on the path of God finally took the dear Commander of Islam, Soleimani, to this lofty status. His blood was shed by the most barbaric of men./1
— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) January 3, 2020
The Revolutionary Guards confirmed the commander of its Quds Force had been killed by US forces in Baghdad, with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif slamming the move as “foolish” and denouncing it as a “dangerous escalation”.
A former head of the Guards said also revenge would be exacted on the United States for Soleimani’s death
“The Revolutionary Guards announces that the glorious commander of Islam, haj Qasem Soleimani, following a life of servitude, was martyred in an attack by America on Baghdad airport this morning,” said a statement read out on state television.
The channel said the attack was carried out by US helicopters. A black ribbon was displayed on the screen and a photo montage was shown with images of Soleimani smiling and praying, as Khamenei also declared three days of mourning.
The US' act of international terrorism, targeting & assassinating General Soleimani—THE most effective force fighting Daesh (ISIS), Al Nusrah, Al Qaeda et al—is extremely dangerous & a foolish escalation.
The US bears responsibility for all consequences of its rogue adventurism.
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) January 3, 2020
Soleimani was one of the most popular figures in Iran and seen as a deadly adversary by America and its allies. State television interrupted its regular programming to detail the commander’s achievements in the region, pointing to many times he “foiled” US plans.
The Islamic republic’s top security body called an emergency meeting over the attack.
“In a few hours, an extraordinary meeting of the Supreme National Security Council will be held to review the murderous attack on the vehicle of General Soleimani in Baghdad that lead to his martyrdom,” ISNA quoted its secretariat spokesman Keyvan Khosravi as saying.
— Ali Hashem علي هاشم (@alihashem_tv) January 3, 2020
The foreign ministry also summoned an official from the Swiss embassy in Tehran, which represents US interests in Iran, to “strongly protest” the killing, according to a tweet by ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi.
“The US’ act of international terrorism, targeting and assassinating General Soleimani… is extremely dangerous and a foolish escalation,” Zarif wrote on Twitter.
“The US bears responsibility for all consequences of its rogue adventurism,” he added. In a statement, the foreign ministry said the United States would pay for the “atrocity”.
“The malice and stupidity of America’s terrorist forces in assassinating General Soleimani, this hero martyr and the leader of combatting terrorism and extremism, will certainly further empower the tree of resistance in the region and the world,” it said.
Iran said its arch enemy the United States bore responsibility for the consequences after killing one of its top commanders, Qasem Soleimani, in an air strike Friday on Baghdad airport
The ministry said it would “use all its political legal and international capacities to enact the decisions of the Supreme National Security Council to make the murderous and terrorist regime of America answer for this clear atrocity.”
BREAKING UPDATE: Chief commander of Iran's #IRGC Qassem #Suleimani and Deputy chief of #PMU Abu Mahdi AlMuhandes were also killed in the airstrikes by the U.S near #Baghdad airport #Iraq. Iraqi state TV pic.twitter.com/gUcVGD1697
— News_Executive (@News_Executive) January 3, 2020
Zarif and his top deputies were in an urgent meeting at the ministry as of 07:00 AM (0330 GMT) to assess the situation, spokesman Abbas Mousavi said in a tweet. A former head of the Guards said also revenge would be exacted on the United States for Soleimani’s death.
“Soleimani joined his martyr brothers but we will exact terrible vengeance upon America,” Mohsen Rezai, who currently heads the Expediency Council, wrote on Twitter.
— Max Goedblick (@MGoedblick) January 3, 2020
Tehran-based analyst Mohammad Marandi said the US has “declared war” against Iran and Iraq, and “it’s best for westerners to evacuate countries like UAE and Iraq immediately”.
“By assassinating General Soleimani & Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, both high ranking military officials, Trump has declared war against the armed forces of both Iran & Iraq. It is best for all American citizens to leave the region immediately. US occupiers will be forced to leave Iraq.”
AFP with additional input by GVS News Desk.