Esmail Qaani, the replacement for the Iranian regime’s General Qassem Soleimani, said at Soleimani’s funeral over the weekend that Iran would avenge Soleimani’s death as another military official threatened to target United States assets.
A U.S. airstrike took out Soleimani and other Iranian officials in Baghdad early Jan. 2.
Thousands attended Soleimani’s funeral, during which the regime’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was reportedly crying as he prayed over the caskets of those who were killed. Soleimani’s daughter, Zeinab, was among the speakers at the funeral.
“Families of the American soldiers in western Asia have witnessed America’s humiliation in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Yemen and Palestine wars, and will spend their days waiting for the death of their children,” she said Monday, according to a translation from the Associated Press.
Two military leaders also added new verbal threats.
Maj. Gen. Hossein Dehghan, the primary military adviser to Khamenei, told CNN that Iran would not use Iran-backed militias for the next strike, but would strike directly against U.S. “military sites.”
“It might be argued that there could be proxy operations. We can say America, Mr. Trump, has taken action directly against us—so we take direct action against America,” he said. “Our reaction will be wise, well considered and in time, with decisive deterrent effect.”
Dehghan claimed that America “started the war,” adding: “The only thing that can end this period of war is for the Americans to receive a blow that is equal to the blow they have inflicted. Afterward they should not seek a new cycle.”
Responding to President Donald Trump’s threat to target Iranian cultural sites, Dehghan said: “If he says 52 we say 300—and they are accessible to us. No American military staff, no American political center, no American military base, no American vessel will be safe.”
Qaani, Soleimani’s replacement as head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force, on Monday told state television that there would be retaliatory actions taken.
“God the almighty has promised to get his revenge, and God is the main avenger. Certainly actions will be taken,” Qaani said, according to the Associated Press.
Trump said on Twitter Saturday that the United States would target Iranian sites, including cultural sites, if Iran attacks the United States again.
“Iran is talking very boldly about targeting certain USA assets as revenge for our ridding the world of their terrorist leader who had just killed an American, & badly wounded many others, not to mention all of the people he had killed over his lifetime, including recently hundreds of Iranian protesters,” Trump said, referring to Soleimani.
“He was already attacking our Embassy, and preparing for additional hits in other locations. Iran has been nothing but problems for many years. Let this serve as a WARNING that if Iran strikes any Americans, or American assets, we have targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD. The USA wants no more threats!”
Trump reiterated his position to reports on Air Force One on Sunday, promising “major retaliation” if Iran conducts another attack.
“They’re allowed to kill our people. They’re allowed to torture and maim our people. They’re allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people. And we’re not allowed to touch their cultural sites? It doesn’t work that way,” Trump said.