Iran vows revenge on Soleimani killers, including Trump and 93 other Americans

To mark the third anniversary of a seismic assassination, a number of Iranian officials have vowed revenge for the January 3, 2020 United States assassination of legendary military leader Qassem Soleimani, for which 94 citizens, including then-President Donald Trump, are accused.

The list of suspects, which has yet to be released, was announced Tuesday by Kazem Gharibabadi, vice president of Iran’s judiciary for international affairs and secretary-general of Iran’s Human Rights Headquarters. While the defendants came from multiple countries, including 17 from Iraq, where Soleimani was killed, and an unspecified number from Germany and the United Kingdom, Gharibabadi said that “prosecutions are currently focused on American defendants,” according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency.

“This case now has 94 defendants from America,” Gharibabadi said. “All the necessary documents have been collected by the judicial authorities and at least three complete volumes on these 94 defendants are available.”

Of those 94, “the three main defendants” were Trump, his then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and then-Chief of US Marine Corps Central Command, Gen. Kenneth McKenzie.

“No one will be immune from legal proceedings,” Gharibabadi warned. “The indictment that has been issued fully charges these 3 individuals and the judicial system is dealing with them and in this way there is no obstacle in the judicial system before us.”

Soleimani, Muhandis, Killing, 3rd Anniversary, Tehran, Iran
An Iranian man carries the portraits of slain Quds Force commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Major General Qassem Soleimani and deputy commander of Iraq’s People’s Mobilization Forces Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis (L) during a ceremony in the capital Tehran January 3 to commemorate the third anniversary of their killing by a US attack in the Iraqi capital.
Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images

While he said Iranian officials have received cooperation from their counterparts in Iraq, where the Supreme Judicial Council has also issued an arrest warrant for Trump, he said the US and the two European countries have not cooperated on requests. As such, he argued that Iranian courts were prepared to unilaterally prosecute their nationals under the 1973 Convention to Prevent and Punish Crimes Against Internationally Protected Persons, Including Diplomats.

Iran’s military leaders have also vowed to hit back against those blamed for the assassination of Soleimani, who held the rank of major general and led the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force at the time of his assassination. Among those who died alongside the Iranian military leader was Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of the People’s Mobilization Forces, an influential umbrella organization of militias.

A statement issued by the IRGC on Monday claimed that “getting revenge on the perpetrators and killers of the martyr Soleimeni as soon as possible is a clear and untouchable path.”

Iranian Defense Minister Mohammad-Reza Gharaei Ashtiani also issued a warning on Monday, stating that “vengeance for the blood of General Soleimani is on the constant agenda of the country’s armed forces and the commanders and perpetrators of this cowardly assassination will face their shameful punishment a.” A time and a place they don’t even think about, and the Islamic Republic of Iran will determine their time and place.

“The fingers of the soldiers of this country are on the trigger for this historic moment,” he added.

Others to intervene included IRGC Major General Hossein Salami, who told a news agency linked to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s office that “at present, revenge has become a strategy, a desire, an aspiration and a starting point.” . as the Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, Major General Mohammed Hossein Baqeri, who claimed that “revenge for the masterminds and perpetrators of the assassination of General Soleimani will never be removed from the agenda of the youth of the Muslim world and his followers around the world.”

A number of other leading Iranian figures have eulogized Soleimani in recent days, including President Ebrahim Raisi, who previously headed the judiciary now investigating those responsible for the Major General’s assassination, and Khamenei himself, who killed Soleimani less than a year ago Iran’s highest honor was awarded by his death.

Three years after his assassination, Soleimani remains a polarizing figure in the region. He is widely credited with playing a front-line role in mobilizing efforts to fight Sunni Muslim jihadist groups like the Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria, but he has also been accused of fueling sectarian tensions with the international , largely Shiite Muslim “axis of resistance” that exists to this day.

And although his anti-ISIS efforts came at a time when the US was also scrambling to take on the rapidly expanding militant group, Soleimani’s parallel efforts to drive US troops out of Iraq made him a public enemy in Iraq for decades Washington.

But Trump’s decision to kill the commander was controversial, drawing mixed reactions both abroad and at home given the unprecedented peacetime period in which a foreign military official was killed, even though the US leader had only killed him months before identified as terrorists.

President-elect Joe Biden questioned Trump’s calculus at the time, acknowledging that Soleimani “deserved to be brought to justice,” while simultaneously accusing the then-president of pursuing a “hugely escalating move” that he likened to ” . threw a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox.”

Donald, Trump, in Mar-a-Lago, for New Years
Former U.S. President Donald Trump greets people as he arrives for a New Year’s event at his home in Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida December 31, 2022. Trump has announced his intention to run for president again to reclaim the office from his successor, President Joe Biden.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The attack that killed Soleimani at Baghdad International Airport came amid a series of escalations between US forces and Iraqi militias backed by Iran. Immediately after killing the news week First confirmed to English-speaking audiences, Iran launched a barrage of rocket attacks on Iraq’s Ain Al Asad airbase, leaving more than 100 US service members suffering traumatic brain injuries.

Iranian officials, including Soleimani’s successor Esmail Ghaani, have claimed they would continue to pursue a policy of “harsh revenge” for his assassination. Animations imagining an Iranian assassination of Trump circulated during the second anniversary of Soleimani’s assassination last year, a US intelligence spokesman said news week It takes threats against Trump’s life “seriously”.

Soleimani’s legacy has also been tested at home as months of protests continue in response to the killing of an Iranian woman in custody by the country’s Guidance Patrol in September. While some Iranians attended memorial services for Soleimani, others, criticizing the Islamic Republic he fought for abroad, defaced posters with his image.

Those supporting Soleimani abroad rallied in countries including India, Iraq and Lebanon, where crowds listened to a televised speech by Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah praising the slain Iranian major general. Iran vows revenge on Soleimani killers, including Trump and 93 other Americans

Rick Schindler

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