‘Will certainly happen’: Iran’s Khamenei vows to avenge Soleimani’s death
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei renewed his call to avenge the death of top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani, who was killed by US military in a drone strike at Baghdad’s international airport in January. Ahead of the death anniversary of Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMU), Khamenei said that Iran will take the revenge “on those who ordered it.”
“Those who ordered the murder of General Soleimani, as well as those who carried this out, should be punished. This revenge will certainly happen at the right time,” said the 81-year-old religious leader, according to Khamenei’s website.
Khamenei said millions of people attending the funeral of Soleimani and al-Muhandis “was the first slap” to the US, adding that the “worse one is overcoming the hegemony of arrogance and expelling the US from the region.” He claimed that the United States has failed to achieve its goals in Iran and Syria despite spending billions of dollars in the region.
“Martyr Soleimani defeated the Front of Arrogance both during his life and with his martyrdom. The US President said they spent $7 billion in the region without achieving anything. The US failed to achieve its goals in Syria and Iraq,” he said.
After Soleimani’s death, US President Donald Trump had said that the US troops killed the Iranian commander because he was plotting “imminent and sinister attacks on American diplomats and military personnel”. In a televised briefing, Trump had stated that Soleimani made the death of innocent people his “sick passion”, contributing to terrorist plots as far away as New Delhi and London.
Soleimani’s killing triggered an escalation as Tehran retaliated by targeting US troops stationed in Iraq. According to the Pentagon, 64 American troops were injured in an Iranian missile strike on Iraqi military base in January 2020. The US president underplayed the traumatic brain injuries suffered by the security personnel by calling it ‘headaches’.
“I heard they had headaches. No, I don’t consider them very serious injuries, relative to other injuries that I’ve seen,” Trump had said during the World Economic Forum (WEF) summit in Davos, drawing flak from the Veterans of Foreign War (VFW).