Killing Trump wouldn’t be revenge enough for Soleimani, says top Iran general
Revolutionary Guards aerospace commander says rockets at American bases also not enough; only the total removal of US forces from Middle East will suffice
A top commander of Iran’s missile array said Monday that even killing US President Donald Trump would not be satisfactory retribution for America’s slaying of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps senior commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
Rather, only the complete removal of US forces from the entire Middle East would suffice, said Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the IRGC Aerospace Force, who is in charge of missiles that can hit US bases across the region.
Speaking on the sidelines of the massive funeral for Soleimani in Tehran, Hajizadeh said that revenge required more than “just four missiles, targeting a US base, or even killing Trump,” Iran Front Page reported.
“None of these have the same value as the blood of this martyr,” Hajizadeh said. “The only thing that can compensate the blood of this martyr [Soleimani] is the complete destruction of America in the region.”
He also said that Trump, who “fled the Vietnam War, had better order coffins for American soldiers,” apparently a reference to Trump’s five deferments, which kept him out of the army and the Southeast Asia conflict in the late 1960s.
Early Friday, a volley of US missiles hit Baghdad’s international airport, striking a convoy belonging to the Popular Mobilization Forces, an Iraqi paramilitary force with close ties to Iran. Just a few hours later, the Revolutionary Guard Corps announced Soleimani “was martyred in an attack by America on Baghdad airport this morning.”
Deputy commander of the PMF Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was also killed in the attack.
Hajizadeh’s remarks echoed those made by Hezbollah terror group leader Hassan Nasrallah, who on Sunday, in a fiery televised speech, said that revenge for Soleimani demanded nothing short of driving the US out of the Middle East.
“In terms of retaliation, there is no figure in the opposite front to match General Soleimani and Muhandis,” Nasrallah said, adding that “Soleimani’s shoe is worth more than Trump’s head.”
Nasrallah said Soleimani’s killing marked the start of a “new war” on the US in the Middle East and called on Shiite militias to attack US military assets throughout the region — including suicide bombings. He predicted that the Americans will leave the region in “coffins,” taking Israel with them.
Soleimani had close ties with Hezbollah and was heavily involved in its operations. In a rare interview late last year, Soleimani claimed he and Nasrallah escaped an Israeli assassination attempt when Israeli aircraft targeted them in Beirut during the Second Lebanon War in 2006.
As the commander of the IRGC’s secretive foreign operations unit, the Quds Force, Soleimani has for years been seen as the architect of much of Iran’s malign activities in the Middle East, including attempts to gain a foothold in Syria and rocket attacks on Israel.
Soleimani had long stayed in the shadows while directing the Quds Force. But he rose to prominence by advising forces fighting the Islamic State group in Iraq and in Syria on behalf of embattled dictator Bashar Assad.
After three days of funeral ceremonies that began Sunday, and have been attended by millions, Soleimani is to be buried Tuesday.
On Sunday three rockets landed inside the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad, Iraq, home to the US Embassy and the seat of Iraq’s government, city residents said at the time. There were some injuries to civilians, local media reported.
The attack came shortly after the deadline from a hardline pro-Iran faction for local troops to get away from US forces, following the US airstrike in Baghdad that killed Soleimani and militia leader Muhandis.
Iran has vowed to avenge Soleimani’s death but Trump has said US forces have already targeted dozens of sites in Iran in preparation for an immediate counterattack if the Iranians make good on their threat.