The commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force, who replaced General Qassem Soleimani after a U.S. airstrike killed him, said that revenge for Soleimani’s killing would be taken “in a manly fashion.”
In the latest threat by Iran, Esmail Qaani told the force during the ceremony introducing him as Soleimani’s replacement that America took out Soleimani “in a cowardly way.”
“But with God’s grace and through endeavors of freedom-seekers around the world who want vengeance over his blood, we will hit his enemy in a manly fashion,” he said, Al Jazeera reported.
Soleimani was hit with the airstrike in Baghdad overnight on Jan. 2. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei appointed Qaani less than 12 hours after Soleimani was killed.
“The orders for the [Quds] force remain exactly as they were during the leadership of martyr Soleimani,” Khamenei said in a decree. “I call on the members of the force to be present and cooperate with General Qaani and wish him divine prosperity, acceptance, and guidance.”
The force is part of the guard, which includes some 125,000 Iranians.
A top aide to Soleimani who fought in the Iran-Iraq war and was an intelligence official in the corps, Qaani vowed revenge for Soleimani’s killing at his funeral several days after being appointed his replacement.
“God the almighty has promised to get his revenge, and God is the main avenger. Certainly actions will be taken,” Qaani said.
U.S. military leaders said the strike against Soleimani was ordered in the wake of a series of attacks against the United States, including the killing of an American contractor and the breach of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.
Iran retaliated by firing missiles at Iraqi bases hosting U.S. troops on Jan. 7. No troops were seriously harmed, though 11 troops were treated for symptoms of concussion.
Trump appeared a day after the strikes, saying the United States would respond by imposing additional sanctions but wouldn’t take further military action.
Trump signaled he was ready for peace.
“To the people and leaders of Iran: We want you to have a future and a great future—one that you deserve, one of prosperity at home, and harmony with the nations of the world. The United States is ready to embrace peace with all who seek it,” Trump said.
Trump said that Iran appeared to be standing down from further attacks. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote on Twitter that the country had “concluded proportionate measures in self-defense.”
Iran later came under pressure for shooting down a Ukrainian plane that had just taken off from Tehran. Several days after the Jan. 8 incident, which left all 176 people on board dead, authorities admitting to downing the plane.