Latest news: Huge crowds in Iran for commander’s funeral, daughter warns U.S. of ‘dark day’ World News
“Crazy Trump, don’t think it’s all over with my father’s martyrdom,” Zeinab Suleimani said in his state-television speech after US President Donald Trump ordered Friday’s attack that killed the Iranian general.
Iran has vowed to avenge the assassination of Qassim Suleimani, the architect of Iran’s drive to spread its influence throughout the region and a national hero among many Iranians, including many who did not consider themselves devoted supporters of the clerical rulers of the Islamic Republic.
The scale of the crowds in Tehran shown on television reflected the masses who gathered in 1989 for the funeral of the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
In response to Iran’s warnings, Trump has threatened to hit 52 Iranian sites, including cultural targets, if Tehran attacks Americans or U.S. assets, deepening a crisis that has heightened fears of a major conflagration in the Middle East.
The coffins of the Iranian general and Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who also died in Friday’s attack at Baghdad airport, passed through the heads of mourning masses in central Tehran, many of them chanting “Death to America.”
One of the main regional objectives of the Islamic Republic, namely to expel US forces from neighboring Iraq, came on a Sunday when the Iraqi parliament backed a recommendation from the prime minister ordering the departure of all foreign troops.
“Despite the internal and external difficulties we might face, it remains best for Iraq in principle and practically,” said the Iraqi caretaker’s prime minister, Adel Abdul Mahdi, who resigned in November amid anti-government protests.
Iraq’s rival Shiite leaders, including those who oppose Iranian influence, have united since Friday’s attack calling for the expulsion of US troops.
Esmail Qaani, the new head of the Quds Force, the Revolutionary Guards unit in charge of overseas activities, said Iran would continue Suleimani’s path and said that “the only compensation for us would be to get the United States out of the region.”
ALLIES IN THE FUNERAL
Prayers at Suleimani’s funeral in Tehran, which will later be moved to his southern hometown of Kerman, were led by Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Suleimani was widely seen as Iran’s second most powerful figure behind Khamenei.
The funeral was attended by some of Iran’s allies in the region, including Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of the Palestinian Hamas group, who said: “I declare that the martyred commander Suleimani is a martyr to Jerusalem.”
In addition to tensions, Iran said it was taking a step further back commitments under a 2015 nuclear deal with six major powers, a pact from which the United States withdrew in 2018.
Since then, Washington has imposed harsh sanctions on Iran, describing its policy as “maximum pressure” and saying it wanted to reduce Iranian oil exports — the government’s main source of revenue — to zero.
Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One on the way to Washington from Florida from Florida on Sunday, Trump stood with his comments to include cultural sites on his list of potential targets, despite attracting criticism from American politicians.
“They are allowed to kill our people. They are allowed to torture and maim our people. They are allowed to use bombs on the road and fly our people. And we can’t touch their cultural sites? It doesn’t work that way,” Trump said.
Republican president’s Democratic critics have said Trump was reckless in authorizing the strike, and some said his comments on attacking cultural sites amounted to threats to commit war crimes. Many asked why Soleimani, long seen as a threat by the Us authorities, had to be killed now.
Republicans in the U.S. Congress have generally backed Trump’s move.
Trump also threatened sanctions against Iraq and said that if U.S. troops were to leave the country, the Iraq government would have to pay Washington for the cost of a “very extraordinarily expensive” airbase there.
He said that if Iraq were to ask U.S. forces to leave unphasically, “we will charge them sanctions like they had never seen before. It will make Iranian sanctions look a little meek.”