Reacting to the killing of one of its top commanders by the US, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Friday (January 3) warned the Americans of ‘severe revenge.’
Pentagon said US president Donald Trump had ordered the killing of Iranian commander Gen Soleimani, who was accordingly executed in an airstrike.
His efforts & path won’t be stopped by his martyrdom, by God’s Power, rather a #SevereRevenge awaits the criminals who have stained their hands with his & the other martyrs’ blood last night. Martyr Soleimani is an Intl figure of Resistance & all such people will seek revenge. /3
— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) January 3, 2020
The strike comes days after Trump threatened Tehran in the aftermath of Iraqi supporters, of pro-Iranian regime factions, laying siege to the US embassy in Baghdad after deadly American airstrikes on the hard-line Hashed faction.
Iran’s foreign minister slammed the killing of Soleimani as a dangerous escalation and warned the United States would bear responsibility for the consequences.
“The US act of international terrorism, targeting and assassinating General Soleimani… is extremely dangerous and a foolish escalation,” Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote on Twitter. “The US bears responsibility for all consequences of its rogue adventurism,” he added.
Meanwhile, Iran’s top security body called an urgent meeting Friday over the martyrdom of Soleimani by the United States in Baghdad, semi-official news agency ISNA reported.
“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.
Similarly, a former head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said revenge would be exacted on the United States for killing the commander of its Quds Force.
The Pentagon alleged that the strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans.
“General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region. General Soleimani and his Quds Force were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more,” it alleged.
It said that General Soleimani had “orchestrated” attacks on coalition bases in Iraq over the last several months – including the attack on December 27 – culminating in the death and wounding of additional American and Iraqi personnel. General Soleimani also approved the attacks on the US embassy in Baghdad that took place this week, it said.
“The United States will continue to take all necessary action to protect our people and our interests wherever they are around the world,” it said.
Trumps decision in this regard was supported by his former cabinet colleague, Indian American Nikki Haley, the former US Ambassador to the United Nations.
Qassem Soleimani was an arch terrorist with American blood on his hands. His demise should be applauded by all who seek peace and justice. Proud of President Trump for doing the strong and right thing. @realDonaldTrump 🇺🇸
— Nikki Haley (@NikkiHaley) January 3, 2020
Ties between the US and Iran have deteriorated since Washington pulled out of the landmark nuclear deal with Tehran in 2018. It then reimposed crippling sanctions on Iran, aiming to choke off its oil exports.
Congress not notified ahead of Soleimani killing
US lawmakers were not told in advance of the attack ordered by President Donald Trump that killed a top Iranian military commander, a senior House Democrat said on late Thursday.
The strike conducted in Iraq against Irans Qasem Soleimani “went forward with no notification or consultation with Congress,” House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Eliot Engel said in a statement. Soleimani was “the mastermind of immense violence” who has “the blood of Americans on his hands,” the Democratic lawmaker said. But “to push ahead with an action of this gravity without involving Congress raises serious legal problems and is an affront to Congress powers as a coequal branch of government,” Engel added.
(With inputs from agencies)