Iran’s first retaliatory response for the 3 January 2020 targeted U.S. assassination of Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps elite Quds Force top commander, General Qassem Soleimani, has already been initiated.
Tehran announced on its immediate and absolute withdrawal from the international nuclear agreement it signed with world powers in 2015. According to a statement from Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif this morning, “By assassinating the proud martyr General Qassem Soleimani, (the United States) has figured out an end to its illicit presence in the Middle East, and the consequence of the noble martyr’s blood being spilled have already begun.” The top Iranian diplomat, who has been personally targeted by U.S. economic sanctions. “This is a significant point in the history of the region and the world.” Zarif went on to vow, “The U.S. will receive the definitive resolute response to its brazen criminal act in a place and at a time when it will hurt most.”
Iran declared three national days of mourning for Soleimani, whose funeral procession in the streets in Tehran drew hundreds of thousands of regime supporters – including an overwhelming number of leaders of internationally-recognized terror groups. The political leader of the Palestinian Islamist-Hamas organization was granted the so-called honor of eulogizing the Iranian general. Ismail Haniyeh said Soleimani “devoted his life to supporting the (Palestinian) resistance,” before three times declaring the Quds Force commander “the martyr of Jerusalem, the martyr of Jerusalem, the martyr of Jerusalem.”
Not all Iranian-backed leaders were at attendance. Most notably, Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah remained at an undisclosed bunker in Lebanon, from which he pledged to exact a heavy price from American forces that are deployed in the Middle East. “He is not just an Iranian concern, Qassem Soleimani is of concern to all of the resistance axis,” Nasrallah said in a speech broadcast by the Hezbollah-affiliated Al Manar network. “A fair punishment is, with all transparency and clarity, the (targeting of) the U.S military presence in the region,” he said, adding that none of the Iranian proxies will relent as long as there is “a single American soldier remaining in Iraq.”
Solemani’s longtime deputy, IRGC Brigadier General Esmail Ghaani., has already been appointed as his successor.