US interests in region ‘in danger,’ Iranian president says
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US interests in region ‘in danger,’ Iranian president says

Qassem Soleimani’s killing on Friday ‘a major strategic error’ by Washington, Rouhani tells French leader Macron in phone call

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani delivers a speech at the Kuala Lumpur Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, December 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin)
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani delivers a speech at the Kuala Lumpur Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, December 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin)

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani told his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron Tuesday that America’s interests in the region were “in danger,” his office said, after the US killed an Iranian general on Friday.

“The United States must know its interests and security in the region are in danger and that it cannot escape the consequences of this great crime,” he said in an hour-long telephone call with Macron, quoted in a statement by the Iranian presidency.

Friday’s killing of Qassem Soleimani in a US drone strike in Baghdad on the orders of President Donald Trump ratcheted up tensions between the arch-foes.

Iran vowed “severe revenge” before Trump warned that Washington had lined up 52 targets if Tehran attacked American personnel or assets.

Mourners attend a funeral ceremony for Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani and his comrades, who were killed in Iraq in a US drone strike, in the city of Kerman, Iran, January 7, 2020. (Erfan Kouchari/Tasnim News Agency via AP)

Rouhani said the Americans had “committed a major strategic error in assassinating General Soleimani,” head of the Revolutionary Guards’ foreign operations arm and the man responsible for Iran’s involvement and support for Shiite militias in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and Iraq.

The Iranian president added that the killing might have the opposite effect of what the US had expected.

“This crime has strengthened as never before the unity and solidarity of the Iranian people, and also that of the Iraqi people,” he told Macron.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran never seeks war and insecurity in the region, but it does not hesitate to defend its rights and sovereignty,” he said.

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