Three Years on, Iran Vows Revenge for Commander Slain by US

The killing of a top Iranian general three years ago in a US drone strike will be avenged, President Ebrahim Raisi promised Tuesday at a commemoration attended by thousands of people.

Then-US President Donald Trump ordered the strike that killed General Qassem Soleimani, 62, on January 3, 2020.

Soleimani commanded the Quds Force, the foreign operations arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and was adored by Iranian authorities. He was one of the country’s most popular public figures, who led Iran’s operations in the Middle East and was considered a hero of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.

“We have not and will not forget the blood of martyr Soleimani,” Raisi said at Tehran’s Grand Mosalla mosque, where crowds waved Iranian flags and held pictures of the slain commander.

Supporters of Lebanon's Shia Hezbollah movement celebrate the third anniversary of the deaths of Iranian Revolutionary Guards chief commander Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, in the southern suburbs of Beirut on January 3, 2023.

Supporters of Lebanon’s Shia Hezbollah movement celebrate the third anniversary of the deaths of Iranian Revolutionary Guards chief commander Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, in the southern suburbs of Beirut on January 3, 2023.

The “murderers and perpetrators” of his murder must know that “the revenge of martyr Soleimani’s blood is certain and they will not sleep easily”, he added.

Soleimani died along with his Iraqi lieutenant, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, in the strike near Baghdad airport.

A few days later, Iran retaliated by firing missiles at bases in neighboring Iraq housing US troops and other coalition forces. No US personnel were killed, but Washington said dozens of people suffered traumatic brain injuries from the blasts.

Amid heightened tensions, Iran also accidentally shot down a Ukrainian airliner on January 8, 2020, killing all 176 people on board.

The Pentagon said at the time that Soleimani had “actively developed plans to attack American diplomats and military personnel in Iraq and throughout the region.”

But ‘none of Trump’s goals’ were achieved by the killing of Soleimani and his aide, the leader of Iran-backed Lebanese militant group Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah told supporters at a memorial event .

“Our axis has grown stronger with their blessed blood, the axis of resistance which we must strongly preserve and maintain,” Nasrallah said.

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