Iranian terror leader Qassem Soleimani was killed last week in a U.S. airstrike that also claimed the lives of several Iraqi militia figures, according to CNBC. Now, Iran is promising payback.
The Daily Mail is reporting that a “flag of revenge” was hoisted over the Jamkaran Mosque on Saturday. Red in color, the flag bears an inscription that reads, “Those who want to avenge the blood of Hussein,” according to the Washington Examiner.
A revered figure in Shia Islam, Hussein was the martyred grandson of Mohammed. Some observers have interpreted the flag as a call for action.
A promise for vengeance
Evidence supporting that interpretation could be seen in an exchange that was broadcast on Iranian state television. In it, Soleimani’s daughter spoke with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
“Mr. Rouhani,” she began, “when the bloods of my father’s friends were shed, my father would get their revenge. Now, who is going to avenge my father’s blood?”
Rouhani responded that “everyone will get revenge for the martyr’s blood.”
“Don’t worry about that,” he added, according to the Daily Mail. “The Americans did not realize what a grave mistake they have made. They will suffer the consequences of such criminal measure not only today, but also throughout the years to come.”
Earlier, the Iranian leader wrote in a tweet that his “great nation…will take revenge for this heinous crime.” He also pledged that “the path of resistance to U.S. excesses will continue.”
The start of a war?
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei expressed strong feelings as well; Iran’s supreme leader promised that “harsh retaliation is waiting for the criminals whose filthy hands spilled his blood.”
The words of Iranian ambassador to the U.N. Majid Takht Ravanchi were even more ominous. “The U.S. has already started a war against Iran, not just an economic war but something beyond that by assassinating one of our top generals,” he declared, according to the Daily Mail.
Prior to his death, Soleimani was the leader of the Quds Force, an organization blamed by the U.S. State Department for spreading terror in multiple countries, according to Newsweek. What’s more, the Pentagon reports that Soleimani was responsible for the deaths of over 600 American servicemembers.
For his part, President Donald Trump has denied that killing Soleimani was an aggressive move, instead insisting that it was necessary to stop future attacks. “We took action last night to stop a war,” he declared last week. “We did not take action to start a war.”