Iran to 'directly respond' to US military: Khamenei adviser
Iran to 'respond directly' against US military sites, Khamenei adviser says
In an interview with CNN, the military adviser to Iran's supreme leader affirmed that the response to the killing of top Iranian General Qasem Soleimani would be militarily.
The military adviser to Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told the CNN on Sunday that Tehran's response to the US drone strike which killed Qasem Soleimani would be "against military sites".
Brigadier General Hossein Dehghan affirmed that the response was "for sure military", in the most specific and direct threat openly delivered by a senior Iranian official since the killing of Soleiman and Iraqi paramillitary leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.
The reprisal attack would not be carried out by Iran-allied militia in the region, but come from Iran directly.
"It might be argued that there could be proxy operations. We can say Ameria, Mr. Trump, has taken action directly against us - so we take direct action against America."
Yet Dehghan maintained that Iran was "not seeking a war" with America and suggested that the response would be proportionate, while serving as a deterrent for further attacks.
"It was America that started the war. Therefore, they should accept appropriate reaction to their actions." he said.
"The only thing that can end this period of war is for the American to recieve a blow that is equal to the blow they have inflicted. Afterward they should not seek a new cycle."
Deghan also directly addressed Trump's twitter warning to target 52 cultural and heritage site in Iran in response to any Iranian retaliation, the precise number of Americans held hostage at the US embassy in Tehran for more than a year starting in late 1979.
"If he says 52 we say 300 - and they are acessible to us," Dehghan said. "No American military staff, no American political centre, no American military base, no American vessel will be safe"
The former defence minister who is now the main military adviser, described Iran's renewed will to defend its interest as increasing "a thousand times. We don't feel anything. We have a logic, the logic of martyrdom."
His comments echo those on foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi, who told a news conference on Sunday that Iran was not seeking a war but was "ready for any situation".
Millions flocked to the streets in the Iranian city of Ahvaz on Sunday, mourning the slain general, as his remains arrived from Iraq before dawn. They are expected to be flown to Tehran later in the evening, where more tributes will be paid.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei will conduct a prayer service over Soleimani's remains at Tehran University on Monday, ahead of a funeral on Tuesday, in his hometown Kerman.
President Hassan Rouhani said that US had made a "grave mistake" and would "face consequences...not only today, but also in the coming years" in visit to the family of the assasinated general, according to CNN.
Earlier on Friday, Iran's Supreme National Security Council said the Islamic republic awaited the "right time and place" to retaliate for Soleimani's assassination.
The Pentagon claimed that Trump had order Soleimani's killing after a pro-Iran mob this week laid siege to the US embassy in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.
US officials also asserted evidence that Soleimani posed an imminent threat, planning attacks that would have put American lives in danger, without providing details.
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