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Iran threatens to ‘set ablaze’ the places ‘U.S. likes’

Chief of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Gen. Hossein Salami speaks during a rally denouncing in Tehran, Iran. File photo

Chief of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Gen. Hossein Salami speaks during a rally denouncing in Tehran, Iran. File photo   | Photo Credit: AP

Revolutionary Guard chief Hossein Salami says they will target places backed by U.S. as crowds chant ‘Death to Israel’

The leader of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps threatened on Tuesday to “set ablaze” places supported by the U.S. over the killing of a top Iranian general in a U.S. airstrike last week, sparking cries from the crowd of supporters of “Death to Israel!”

Hossein Salami issued the warning before a huge crowd gathered in a central square in Kerman, the hometown of General Qassem Soleimani, as they prepared to bury him.

Mourners in Kerman dressed in black carried posters bearing the image of Soleimani, a man whose slaying prompted Iran’s supreme leader to weep over his casket on Monday as a crowd said by police to be in the millions filled Tehran streets. Although there was no independent estimate, aerial footage and Associated Press journalists suggested a turnout of at least 1 million, and the throngs were visible on satellite images of Tehran taken on Monday.

The outpouring of grief was an unprecedented honour for a man viewed by Iranians as a national hero for his work leading the Guard’s expeditionary Quds Force.

The U.S. blames him for the killing of American troops in Iraq and accused him of plotting new attacks just before his death on Friday in a drone strike near Baghdad’s airport.

Soleimani also led forces in Syria backing President Bashar Assad in a long war, and he also served as the point man for Iranian proxies in countries like Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen.

Soleimani’s remains and those of the others killed in the airstrike were brought to a central square in Kerman, a desert city surrounded by mountains that dates back to the days of the Silk Road.

Speaking in Kerman, Mr. Salami praised Soleimani’s exploits, describing him as essential to backing Palestinian groups, Yemen’s Houthi rebels and Shia militias in Iraq and Syria. As a martyr, Soleimani represented an even greater threat to Iran’s enemies, Mr. Salami said.

“We will take revenge. We will set ablaze where they like,” Mr. Salami said, drawing the cries of “Death to Israel!” Israel is a long-time regional foe of Iran.

13 plans

According to a report on Tuesday by the semi-official Tasnim news agency, Iran has worked up 13 sets of plans for revenge for Soleimani’s killing. The report quoted Ali Shamkhani, the Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, as saying that even the weakest among them would be a “historic nightmare” for the U.S. He declined to give any details.

Solemani will be buried later on Tuesday between the graves of Enayatollah Talebizadeh and Mohammad Hossein Yousef Elahi, two former Guard comrades. The two died in Operation Dawn 8 in Iran’s 1980s war with Iraq in which Soleimani also took part, a 1986 amphibious assault that cut Iraq off from the Persian Gulf and led to the end of the bloody war that killed 1 million people.

(With inputs from AP)

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Printable version | May 27, 2020 11:20:06 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/irans-revolutionary-guards-leader-threatens-to-set-ablaze-us-backed-places/article30501506.ece

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