Iranian people carry a coffin of Qassem Soleimani, head of the elite Quds Force, who was killed in an airstrike at Baghdad airport, during a funeral procession in Tehran, Jan 6, 2020. (Reuters)

December 31, 2020

Iranian officials have vowed to retaliate to the assassination in early 2019 of General Qassem Soleimani, the mastermind of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) foreign operations.

Soleimani’s successor, Esmail Ghaani, presented on Wednesday a report to lawmakers on the latest regional developments during a closed-door session.

The IRGC-affiliated Fars News Agency quoted Tabriz deputy Ahmed Alireza Beygi as saying that Ghaani informed MPs that pro-Iran militias in the region were on high alert.

“The demise of the American forces is imminent,” Ghaani said.

He further implicitly threatened to target US President Donald Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former Defense Secretary Mark Esper, head of the Central Intelligence Agency and all those responsible for Soleimani’s assassination in a January 3 Baghdad drone strike.

In a post on Twitter, Ghaani warned the officials involved in Soleimani’s murder of having to learn how to live secretly like Salman Rushdie, stressing that Iran will “avenge the unjust shedding of Soleimani’s blood.”

In another tweet, he said the enemy’s bones are being crushed.

“The main goal of avenging Soleimani’s blood is to eliminate America from the region,” he added.

His tweets implicitly indicated ballistic missile attacks on two Iraqi bases that housed US forces on Jan.8, 2019. The attacks, however, resulted in no casualties.

During the weekly cabinet session on Wednesday, President Hassan Rouhani said the attack on Ain al-Assad airbase in western Iraq was a “small slap.”

He began his speech by referring to a symbolic image that was circulated for the severed hand of Soleimani, who held the highest military rank in Iran and was the second powerful man after Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

“You cut the hand of our General, so your legs shall be cut off from the region,” Rouhani stressed.

“One of the effects of this stupid and disgraceful act was the end of Trumpism,” he said.

Rouhani described Trump as a “brutal criminal.”

“I am confident that the conditions after Trump will be better for the stability of the entire region,” he said.

Chief of Iran’s Judiciary Ebrahim Raisi said Trump is the prime suspect in Soleimani’s assassination.

“He himself confessed to this crime before the world and cannot be protected from punishment.”

In a legal and judicial follow-up session in the case, Raisi said the assassination will never be forgotten, neither its tragedy nor the people’s demand to punish the perpetrators.

There is enough evidence to demand punishment for the perpetrators of this heinous crime, Raisi affirmed.

Asharq Al-Awsat

About Track Persia

Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.