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13 “Revenge Scenarios” Post U.S. Strike: Report


DUBAI: Iran is considering 13 scenarios to avenge the killing of a senior Iranian military commander in Iraq over a US drone strike, a senior Tehran official said Tuesday when the general’s body was taken to his hometown for burial .
In Washington, the U.S. defense secretary denied reports that the U.S. military was preparing to withdraw from Iraq, where Tehran has attacked with Washington during nearly two decades of war and unrest.
The assassination of General Qassim Suleimani, responsible for building Tehran’s network of representative forces throughout the Middle East, has led to mass mourning in Iran.
U.S.-Iran warnings of further attacks and reprisals have also stoked concerns about a broader conflict in the Middle East and led to calls in the U.S. Congress for legislation to stop the president American Donald Trump goes to war with Iran.
“We will take revenge, a hard and definitive revenge,” said head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, General Hossein Salami, to tens of thousands of mournings in Kerman, Suleimani’s hometown.
Many sang “Death to America” and waved the Iranian flag.
Suleimani’s body has been carried through Iraqi and Iranian cities since Friday’s strike, with huge crowds of mourning filling the streets.
Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and military commanders, have said that Iranian reprisals for U.S. action on Friday would coincide with the magnitude of Suleimani’s assassination, but that it would be at a time and place in Tehran’s election .
Ali Shamkhani, secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, said 13 “revenge scenarios” were being considered,” Fars news agency reported. Even the weakest option would be “a historic nightmare for Americans,” he said.
Iran, whose southern coast stretches along a Gulf sea route that includes the narrow Stait of Hormuz, has allied forces throughout the Middle East through which it could act. Representatives of these forces, including the Palestinian hamas group and the Lebanese Hezbollah movement, attended the funeral.
Despite its strident rhetoric, analysts say Iran will want to avoid any conventional conflict with the United States, but asymmetric attacks, such as sabotage or other more limited military actions, are more likely.
Trump has promised attacks on 52 Iranian targets, including cultural sites, if Iran retaliates, although U.S. officials tried to downplay his reference to cultural targets.
Reuters and other media outlets reported Monday that the U.S. military had sent a letter to Iraqi officials informing them that U.S. troops would be repositioned in preparation for leaving.
“In order to carry out this more price, Coalition Forces are required to take certain steps to ensure that the movement outside Iraq is carried out in a safe and efficient manner,” he said.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said there had been no decision to leave Iraq.
“I don’t know what that letter is, ” he said.
U.S. Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the letter was a “poorly drafted” intended only to underscore the increase in movement by U.S. forces.
The letter, addressed to the combined joint operations of the Iraqi Ministry of Defense and confirmed as authentic by an Iraqi military source, had caused confusion about the future of the approximately 5,000 U.S. troops still being held Iraq, where there has been a US military presence since Saddam Hussein was overthrown in a 2003 invasion.
On Sunday, Iraq’s parliament, dominated by lawmakers representing Muslim Shia groups, passed a resolution calling for all foreign troops to leave the country.
Prime Minister Prime Abdel Abdul Mahdi of Iraq said Monday to the U.S. ambassador to Baghdad that the two sides should work together to implement the parliamentary resolution.
Frictions between Iran and the United States have increased since Washington withdrew in 2018 from a nuclear deal between Tehran and other world powers.
The United States has imposed economic sanctions on Iran and Tehran said Sunday that it was removing all limitations on uranium enrichment, its final step behind commitments under the agreement.
The US administration has denied a visa to allow Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to attend a United Nations Security Council meeting in New York on Thursday, a U.S. official said.
“The United States will get the decisive and definitive response for its arrogance at the time and place where it will feel more pain,” Zarif said in a speech broadcast on state television.
Trump’s American political rivals have defied his decision to order Suleimani’s assassination and his chance in a U.S. election year. His administration said Suleimani was planning further attacks on U.S. interests, but has offered no evidence.
US General Milley said Suleimani’s threat was imminent. “We would have been guilty of the American people if we had not made the decision we made,” he said.
Trump administration officials will provide a classified briefing for U.S. senators Wednesday on events in Iraq after some lawmakers accuse white house of risking a conflict without a strategy.

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