In response to a series of provocations from Iran, President Donald Trump ordered an airstrike on Thursday that killed top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who was deemed responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans in Iraq and countless others across the region.
Unsurprisingly, the authoritarian Iranian regime in Tehran is furious over the loss of its top military general — and now, Iran Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has vowed that “revenge awaits,” according to the Washington Examiner. Another top Iranian general has also threatened to strike some 35 American targets in the Middle East as retaliation, the Examiner reports.
Iran vows revenge
Khamenei’s vow of “revenge” was to be expected, and the chants of “Death to America!” from regime supporters in Iran, Iraq, and elsewhere in the region are nothing new. But the mention of specific American targets in the Middle East that could be struck by Iran is a bit unusual.
Those threats came from Iranian Gen. Gholamali Abuhamzeh, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps contingent in the southern Iran province of Kerman, The Jerusalem Post reported.
The most likely target, as mentioned by Abuhamzeh, are ships moving through the narrow Strait of Hormuz that connects the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean. The area serves as a vital trade route for oil and other goods moving in and out of the Middle East.
“The Strait of Hormuz is a vital point for the West and a large number of American destroyers and warships cross there…vital American targets in the region have been identified by Iran since long time ago,” Abuhamzeh said, according to Reuters.
The Iranian general added that “some 35 U.S. targets in the region, as well as Tel Aviv, are within our reach.”
A warning to Iran
The threat against Tel Aviv in Israel would likely involve Iran’s proxy terror group, Hezbollah, in neighboring Lebanon — and as if on cue, a top Hezbollah official said there would be “decisive” action taken against American targets and interests by the Iran-backed “axis of resistance” that includes proxies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen.
Aside from trade ships and attacks against Israel, other potential targets around the region include numerous strategic military bases and diplomatic compounds, as well as the thousands of soldiers, agents, analysts, and diplomats who are deployed to such locations.
U.S. President Donald Trump has not been sitting idle in the face of such threats, however. He took to Twitter on Saturday to let Tehran know in no uncertain terms that it would ultimately regret launching any sort of retaliatory strikes against America or American interests in the region.
“Let this serve as a warning that if Iran strikes any Americans, or American assets, we have…targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level [and] important to Iran [and] the Iranian culture,” Trump wrote in a series of tweets, “and those targets, and Iran itself, will be hit very fast and very hard. The USA wants no more threats!”
Whether Iran will follow through on its threats to exact revenge against America for the death of Soleimani or heed President Trump’s warning remains to be seen.