Iran Threatens U.S.: We Responded, Will Keep Responding to Assassination of Soleimani

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President Hassan Rohani chairing a cabinet meeting in Tehran on January 22, 2020.
President Hassan Rohani chairing a cabinet meeting in Tehran on January 22, 2020.Credit: AFP

President Hassan Rohani said on Wednesday Iran has responded, and will respond, to America's assassination of Major-General Qassem Soleimani, the Revolutionary Guards commander killed in a U.S. drone strike in Iraq in January.

Rohani was speaking following a Cabinet meeting that was broadcast on state television.

Soleimani, leader of the Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force, was instrumental in expanding Iran's military influence in the Middle East as the operative who handles clandestine operations outside Iran. The 62-year-old general was regarded as the second-most powerful figure in Iran after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

"The Americans assassinated our great commander. We have responded to that terrorist act and will respond to it," Rohani said in a televised speech.

Two rockets fell outside Baghdad's Green Zone on Tuesday without causing any reported casualties, Iraq's military said in a statement, the fourth such attack in the span of a week.

The U.S.-led coalition’s spokesman, Colonel Myles B. Caggins III, said in a tweet that "Iraqis are investigating the explosions in Baghdad," with more details coming from the Iraqi military later. 

Last Wednesday, a barrage of over two dozen rockets struck Camp Taji, north of Baghdad, killing three coalition servicemen, including two Americans. A British serviceman was also killed. It was the deadliest to target U.S. troops in Iraq since a late December rocket attack on an Iraqi base, which killed a U.S. contractor and set in motion a series of attacks that brought Iraq to the brink of war.

The U.S. responded with airstrikes on Iraq's Popular Mobilization Forces, an umbrella organization including an array of militias, including some Iran-backed groups.

Fresh sanctions

The United States imposed fresh sanctions on Iran on Tuesday, keeping up its economic pressure campaign even as it offered to help Tehran cope with the coronavirus pandemic and called on the Islamic Republic to release detained Americans.

Iran is considering freeing some U.S. citizens, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at a news conference where he made clear Washington will maintain its maximum-pressure campaign to choke off Tehran's ability to export its oil.

The campaign, instituted after President Donald Trump in 2018 unilaterally withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal Iran struck with six major powers, aims to force Iran to limit its nuclear, missile and regional activities.

Pompeo on Tuesday said the State Department is blacklisting nine entities based in South Africa, Hong Kong and China, as well as three Iranian individuals, for engaging in "significant transactions" to trade in Iranian petrochemicals.

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