The spokesman for Iran’s Revolutionary Guards burst into tears on live television Friday as he announced the death of a top general in the corps in a US strike.
Appearing on IRINN TV, spokesman General Ramezan Sharif said he wished to “congratulate and send condolences to our dear people” over the death of Qassem Soleimani.
He added that “in all certainty, it will not be long before the momentary joy of the Americans and the Zionists will turn into grief.” He said the IRGC and its allies “think about nothing other than exacting revenge for the blood of this proud martyr whose only thought was how to bring pride and glory to the Iranian people and the Islamic nation, and how to liberate Jerusalem.”
Sharif was then seen weeping as the reporter interviewing him also became teary-eyed and embraced him.
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) January 4, 2020
“Our crying is due to excitement over the martyrdom of this country’s great divine man,” the reporter said. “If I see his body, I will kiss it, but for now, I will kiss this sacred garment on General Sharif’s side.”
Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force and mastermind of its regional security strategy, was killed early Friday near the Baghdad international airport along with senior Iraqi militants in an airstrike ordered by US President Donald Trump. The attack has caused regional tensions to soar and tested the US alliance with Iraq.
In another scene of emotion on display, a preacher was seen announcing Soleimani’s death to worshipers during a morning prayer service that was broadcast live on Iran’s Channel 1.
“We’ve just received news of the martyrdom of the martyr General Hajj Qassem Soleimani,” the preacher in the city of Rahim Abad said, in comments translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute. “This dear and great man has won martyrdom. Hajj Qasem Soleimani has achieved what he has always wished for. [He was] a believing and revolutionary mujahid, with a record of 40 years of Jihad. Martyrdom is his reward.”
Soleimani was a popular figure of national resilience in the face of four decades of US pressure, and many in the audience wept as the imam spoke.
Worshippers Burst into Tears When News Breaks of Soleimani Killing; Preacher: He Was an Agent of Unity between Muslims and Jews pic.twitter.com/Tgnwoctyqu
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) January 3, 2020
The imam called Soleimani “an agent of unity between Muslims and Christians, an agent of unity between Muslims and Jews.” He vowed the country would take revenge on “the Americans and the Zionists.”
The crowd later repeatedly chanted “Death to America!”