Black-clad mourners packed Iran’s second-largest city, Mashhad, on Jan. 5 as the remains of top Gen. Qassem Soleimani were paraded through the streets after he was killed in a U.S. strike.
“Iran’s wearing black, revenge, revenge,” they chanted as darkness fell and they followed a truck carrying Soleimani’s coffin toward the Imam Reza shrine.
Soleimani, who spearheaded Iran’s Middle East operations as commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force, was killed in a U.S. drone strike Jan. 3 near Baghdad Airport. He was 62.
The attack was ordered by President Donald Trump, who said the Quds commander had been planning an “imminent” attack on U.S. diplomats and forces in Iraq.
Soleimani’s remains had been returned before dawn to the southwestern city of Ahvaz, where the air resonated with Shiite chants and shouts of “Death to America” during a procession.
Soleimani, one of Iran’s most popular public figures, is seen as a hero of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.
In the face of growing Iraqi anger over the strike, the country’s parliament Jan. 5 urged the government to oust the roughly 5,200 American troops in Iraq.
Soleimani’s assassination ratcheted up tensions between archenemies Tehran and Washington and sparked fears of a new Middle East war.
Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, vowed “severe revenge” and declared three days of mourning. (AFP-Jiji)