Iran on Saturday (January 5) hoisted a red flag, which according to Shiite tradition symbolises a war that is on the horizon, atop the holy dome of the iconic Jamkaran Mosque in Qom following the death of its commander Qasim Soleimani in an US airstrike.
The incident comes in the backdrop of Iran calling for avenging the death of Soleimani, who led the country’s elite Quds force. In Shiite tradition, the red flag symbolises the unjust spilling of blood and a call to avenge the slain. This was the first time in recorded history that the flag was hoisted, reports said.
Unconfirmed reports further suggest the flag was hoisted on the shrine on Imam Hussain in Karbala in 680 AD following his martyrdom in the Battle of Karbala. As per tradition, it can be lowered only after his death is avenged. Thus, the flag has not been lowered even today.
Meanwhile, a tide of mourners took to the streets of Iran’s Ahvaz, chanting “Death to America” as they paid homage to the slain commander, whose body arrived in the city from Iraq on Sunday (January 5).
Soleimani was killed in a US drone strike on Friday near Baghdad international airport, shocking the Islamic republic. He was 62. The air strike was ordered by President Donald Trump, who said the Iranian general had been planning an “imminent” attack on US diplomats and the roughly 5,200 American troops deployed in Baghdad.
Soleimani’s assassination ratcheted up tensions between the arch-enemies and sparked fears of a new war in the Middle East. Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei swiftly vowed “severe revenge” and declared three days of mourning.
But Trump warned on Saturday that the US was targeting 52 sites in Iran and would hit them “very fast and very hard” if the Islamic republic attacks American personnel or assets.
(With inputs from agencies)