US-Iran tensions: Tehran vows revenge, US threatens sanctions against Iraq

Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei weeps as he leads a prayer at the funeral of Gen Qassem Soleimani
Millions of mourners came out for the funeral of the commander of Iran’s revolutionary guards, Qassem Soleimani, clogging streets in Tehran. In a chilling live broadcast, Iran put a bounty of $80 million on US President Donald Trump’s head and vowed to attack the White House, according to various reports.

“America and Zionism should know that my father’s martyrdom will lead to awakening ... in the resistance front and bring about a dark day for them and flatten their homes,” Zeinab Soleimani, the commander’s daughter, told mourners. “Crazy Trump, don’t think that everything is over with my father’s martyrdom,” she said in the televised address.

The scale of the crowd was biggest since the 1989 funeral of the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, leader of the revolution that set Iran on its political collision course with US.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the current Iranian supreme leader, wept while leading mourners in prayer, forcing him to pause. Soleimani was the head of the Quds Force, the unit in charge of foreign operations of Iran’s revolutionary guards.

Iranian commanders have issued a range of threats since the US strike, without being specific. “Even killing Trump is not a sufficient vengeance, and the only thing that can pay for the blood of martyr Soleimani is completely expelling America from the region,” revolutionary guards aerospace force chief Amirali Hajizadeh said.

Trump has, meanwhile, warned Iran of major retaliation and threatened heavy sanctions on Iraq if American troops are forced to leave. “We have a very extraordinarily expensive air base that’s there. It cost billions of dollars to build. Long before my time. We’re not leaving unless they pay us back for it,” Trump said. “If they do ask us to leave, if we don’t do it in a very friendly basis, we will charge them sanctions like they’ve never seen before. It’ll make Iranian sanctions look somewhat tame.”

 
Trump’s remarks ratchet up tensions on a day when Iraqi lawmakers voted to pursue the removal of foreign troops from the nation.

Trump also spoke briefly about North Korea, predicting of leader Kim Jong Un: “I don’t think he’d break his word to me but maybe he will.” The US president had earlier said the US had drawn up a list of 52 targets — the same number of US Embassy hostages held for 444 days after the Iranian revolution — that he said would be hit if Americans were attacked. Trump said the targets included cultural sites, comments that have drawn criticism from his US political opponents.

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