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Iranian Revolutionary Guards chief vows to 'set ablaze places American hold dear' in Soleimani revenge

Iran's revenge would be "vigorous and unwavering, woeful and terminal", Salami pledged [Getty]

Date of publication: 7 January, 2020

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The IRGC leader addressed thousands gathered for the funeral of Qasem Soleimani, in his hometown of Kerman.
The leader of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) told crowds gathered on Tuesday for the burial of slain Qasem Soleimani in city of Kerman that Iran was ready to "set ablaze those places Americans hold dear" over the killing of the former commander.

Major General Hossein Salami made the pledge to thousands of black-clad mourners, who carried posters bearing Soleimani's image.

At least 35 people where killed and 190 injured in the funeral procession on Tuesday. Videos posted online show lifeless bodies lying on the roadside, with others trying to help them.

Soleimai's remains and those of the others killed in a US drone strike were brought to a central square in Kerman, a desert city surrounded by mountains.

As the crowds chanted "revenge, revenge", the IRGC leader responded.

"We will take revenge. The revenge will be vigorous and unwavering, woeful and terminal."

"We will surely take revenge, but if America dares takes any action we will set alight those places Americans hold dear. They know where those places are." 

His vows mirror those made by other top Iranian officials in recent days - from Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to others - demanding relation against the US in an attack that marks an unprecented escalation of tensions across the Middle East.

Hossein Dehghan, military adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader, who on Sunday affirmed Iran's response would target US military sites directly, also delivered a grave threat at the procession.

"We do not seek enage in all-out war with America, but if they attack us again, we will not stand idly by."

On Monday, the Supreme Leader weeped over Soleimani's casket, as he led funeral prayers in the Iranian capital, with millions filling Tehran's streets.

In lieu of independent estimates, Aerial footage and Associate Press journalist suggest a turnout of at least 1 million.

Read more: Iran Supreme Leader weeps as he lead prayers at Soleimani funeral procession

The outpouring of grief was an unprecendented honor for a man who many Iranians viewed as a national hero at the helm of the IRGC's expeditionary Quds Force and commanded militias in Syria backing President Bashar Assad's regime, as well as Iranian proxies across Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen.

Washington blamed Soleimani for the killing of American troops in Iraq and accused him of planning specific attacks against American interests in the Middle East days before his death on Friday, in a drone strike near Baghdad's airport. 

In response to his slaying, Tehran has foregone the remaining limits of its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

Iranian parliament also passed an urgent bill which declared the US military's command at the Pentagon and those acting on its behalf as "terrorists", subject to Iranian sanctions, mirroring President Donald Trump designation of the IRGC a "terrorist organisation".

Iranian lawmakers also approved funding for the Quds Force with an additional 200 million euros.

Also on Tuesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javid Zarif announced the US declined to issue him with a visa to travel to upcoming UN meetings, held in New York.

The move is a breach of an agreement which guarantees foreign officials access to the UN headquarters.

In Baghdad, the parliament has voted to expell all American troops from Iraqi soil, as analysts express fear that the move could trigger a resurgence of the Islamic State group. 


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