Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei has vowed to seek revenge for America’s killing of his top general, Qassim Soleimani, referring directly to President Trump by saying that Soleimani’s “blood was shed by the most barbaric of men.”
Khamenei declared three days of nation-wide mourning following the death of top Soleimani in a targeted drone strike, calling him an “eminent example of a person trained in Islam,” and threatening retribution for the U.S. attack.
“The loss of our dear General is bitter. The continuing fight & ultimate victory will be more bitter for the murderers & criminals,” Khamenei wrote on Twitter.
Soleimani has been responsible for the deaths of hundreds of U.S. troops over the last two decades. He ruled over the Iranian special Quds Force, which the U.S. designated a terror group in 2007. He was killed alongside Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis by an airstrike at Baghdad airport after President Trump warned Iran and its allies over the multi-day siege of the U.S. embassy in Baghdad.
In a statement confirming Soleimani’s death, the Pentagon said the Iranian “approved” the attacks on the embassy by Iranian-backed militias, which had scrawled “Soleimani is my leader” on the embassy walls during the attack. The U.S. also said the strike was “aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans,” with Democrats and other skeptics voicing concerns that the attack could lead to war.
The Ayatollah seemed to confirm an Iranian response, tweeting “a #SevereRevenge awaits the criminals who have stained their hands with his & the other martyrs’ blood last night.”
These calls for retribution by the Ayatollah come after earlier this week he blamed the US for sparking the violence that lead to the attack on the embassy.
Soon after it was revealed that Soleimaini had been killed, President Trump tweeted, “While Iran will never be able to properly admit it, Soleimaini was both hated and feared within the country. They are not nearly as saddened as the leaders will let the outside world believe. He should have been taken out many years ago!”
In an apparent response to the Supreme Leaders’ threats, the president is sending nearly 3,000 more Army troops to the Mideast. A Pentagon source says that the troops are from the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. They are in addition to about 700 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne who deployed to Kuwait earlier this week after the storming of the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad by Iran-backed militiamen and their supporters.