A tide of mourners wept and beat their chests in the Iranian city of Ahvaz on Sunday, paying homage to top general Qasem Soleimani, after he was killed in a US strike in Baghdad. (Photo Credit: IANS Photo)
Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday sounded caution over the latest US-Iran crisis triggered after the assassination of powerful military leader General Qasem Soleimani. Addressing media in Lucknow, Singh said that the ‘situation is very tense and extremely worrisome.’ He also said that the “atmosphere of war must be avoided at all cost.” India has maintained a studied restraint over the tense standoff between the two nations. The defence minister’s statement comes on the day when US President Donald Trump posted a provocative tweet against the Iranian regime. “The United States just spent Two Trillion Dollars on Military Equipment. We are the biggest and by far the BEST in the World! If Iran attacks an American Base, or any American, we will be sending some of that brand new beautiful equipment their way...and without hesitation!,” Trump said on micro-blogging site.
Meanwhile, a tide of mourners wept and beat their chests in the Iranian city of Ahvaz on Sunday, paying homage to top general Qasem Soleimani, after he was killed in a US strike in Baghdad. "Death to America," they chanted at a mass gathering in the southwestern city, where Soleimani's remains arrived from Iraq before dawn, according to semi-official news agency ISNA. Packing the streets as Shiite chants resonated in the air, mourners held up portraits of Soleimani, seen as a hero of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war and for spearheading Iran's Middle East operations as commander of the Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force. Soleimani was killed in a US drone strike on Friday near Baghdad international airport, shocking the Islamic republic. He was 62.
“The increase in tension has alarmed the world. Peace, stability and security in this region are of utmost importance to India. It is vital that the situation does not escalate further. India has consistently advocated restraint and continues to do so,” the MEA had said in statement.
Pentagon and the White House had officially confirmed that President Donald Trump ordered the assassination of Iran’s high-profile General in an airstrike in Baghdad on Friday morning. In a statement, the White House said that, “At the direction of the President, the US military has taken decisive defensive action to protect US personnel abroad by killing Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, a US-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization.” The Department of Defense added that, "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."