Iran Top Leaders Condemn Soleimaniâ€™s Assassination, Vow â€˜Severe Revengeâ€™ (Iran top leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Left, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Right) (Photo Credit: File Photo - PTI Image)
Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Friday vowed "severe revenge" after the US strike that killed 8 people including General Qassim Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. It should be noted that Gen Qassim Soleimani was the head of Iran's elite Quds Force while Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was the deputy commander of Iran-backed militias known as the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF).
"Martyrdom was the reward for his ceaseless efforts in all these years," Khamenei said on his Farsi-language Twitter account in reference to Soleimani, also declaring three days of mourning. "With him gone, God willing, his work and his path will not be stopped, but severe revenge awaits the criminals who bloodied their foul hands with his blood and other martyrs' in last night's incident," he added.
In response to the killing of Qassem Soleimani in Iraq, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that Iran will be more determined to resist the United States. "Soleimani's martyrdom will make Iran more decisive to resist America's expansionism and to defend our Islamic values. With no doubt, Iran and other freedom-seeking countries in the region will take his revenge," he added.
In the meantime, Tehran summoned an official from the Swiss embassy, which represents US interests in Iran, to condemn the killing of Soleimani by American forces.
In a tweet, Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said, "Following the assassination of General Soleimani by US forces, the Swiss charge d'affaires was summoned and Iran's serious condemnation was conveyed to him." "He was told that this is a clear instance of America's state terrorism and America's regime will be fully responsible for its consequences," he added.
After Iran’s General was killed, US President Donald Trump tweeted a picture of the American flag. Whereas, the Pentagon said President Trump had ordered Soleimani's killing.
It is worth mentioning here that Soleimani had been rumoured dead several times, including in a 2006 airplane crash that killed other military officials in northwestern Iran and following a 2012 bombing in Damascus that killed top aides of embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad.
More recently, rumours circulated in November 2015 that Soleimani was killed or seriously wounded leading forces loyal to Assad as they fought around Syria's Aleppo. Earlier, Iraq's Security Media Cell, which releases information regarding Iraqi security, said Katyusha rockets landed near the airport's cargo hall, killing several people and setting two cars on fire.