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Successor of slain Soleimani 'may face same fate', says US envoy

Qasem Soleimani was killed in a US drone strike ordered by President Trump [AFP]

Date of publication: 23 January, 2020

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The US special representative to Iran has warned slain General Qasem Soleimani's successor that 'if he follows the same path of killing Americans' he will face a similar fate.
The successor of slain Iranian General Qasem Soleimani will suffer a similar fate to his predecessor if he follows along the same path, the US special representative to Iran said according to Asharq al-Awsat.

Tensions between Washington and Tehran have been teetering on the edge since the US killed top Iranian general Soleimani in Baghdad and Tehran retaliated against an Iraqi base hosting American soldiers.

President Donald Trump ordered the 3 January drone strike that killed Soleimani near Baghdad Airport, saying the late commander of Iran's elite Quds Force was planning attacks that threatened American lives.

Esmail Qaani, formerly Quds Force deputy commander, was named by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as Soleimani's successor in the immediate aftermath of the killing.

"If (Esmail) Ghaani follows the same path of killing Americans then he will meet the same fate," US specical representative to Iran Brian Hook told newspaper Asharq al-Awsat in comments quoted by Reuters.

Hook said in the interview in Davos that President Trump had long made it clear "that any attack on Americans or American interests would be met with a decisive response". 

"This isn't a new threat. The president has always said that he will always respond decisively to protect American interests. I think the Iranian regime understands now that they cannot attack America and get away with it."

Qaani was described by Khamenei as one of the "most decorated commanders" of the Guards during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.

"The orders for the (Quds) force remain exactly as they were during the leadership of martyr Soleimani," said the supreme leader at the time of his appointment.

"I call on the members of the force to be present and cooperate with General Qaani and wish him divine prosperity, acceptance and guidance," he added.

Read more: Cardi B calls Trump a 'terrorist' in message of support for Iranian people

January has been a turbulent month for Iran. The Islamic Republic approached the brink of war with the United States and mistakenly shot down the Ukrainian jet, killing all 176 people on board.

Tensions began to escalate between the US and Iran in December, when rockets fired at US bases in Iraq killed an American contractor. 

Washington responded with air strikes on a pro-Iran militia based in Iraq, after which the militia briefly surrounded and occupied the US embassy in Baghdad.

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