Soleimani's body arrives in Iran while Trump launches new threats

TEHRAN: The body of the General Revolutionary Guard arrived in Iran on Sunday to a crowd of mourners after the US drone attack killed the commander, as president Donald Trump He threatened to bomb 52 sites in the Islamic Republic if Tehran retaliates by attacking the Americans.

Soleimani's death in Iraq on Friday further increases tensions between Tehran and Washington after months of commercial attacks and threats that put them on the edge of the Middle East. The conflict is that Trump withdraws from Iran's nuclear agreement with the world powers, an agreement that is likely to crumble further, as Tehran is expected to announce as soon as Sunday that it will break another set of limits.

Iran has promised hard revenge. A rocket series has already been launched in Baghdad On Saturday night it fell into or near the Green Zone, which houses government offices and foreign embassies, including the US embassy.

Trump wrote on Twitter after the United States had already attacked 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some of a very high level and important for Iran and Iranian culture.

Trump did not identify the objectives, but added that they would be VERY QUICK AND VERY HARD HITS.

After thousands in Baghdad on Saturday mourned Soleimani and others killed in the strike, authorities flew the general's body to the southwestern Iranian city of Ahvaz, according to the state-run IRNA news agency. An honor guard stood by early Sunday as mourners carried the flag-draped coffins of Soleimani and other Guard members off the tarmac.

Authorities took Soleimani's body to Ahvaz, a city that was a source of struggle during the bloody 1980-88 war between Iraq and Iran in which the general slowly became prominent. After that war, Soleimani joined the newly formed Quds of the Guard, or Jersualem, Force, an expeditionary force that works with Iranian power forces in countries such as Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen.

Authorities also plan to take Soleimani's body to Mashhad later on Sunday, as well as to Tehran and Qom on Monday for public grieving processions, and then to his hometown of Kerman for burial on Tuesday.

Soleimani was the architect of Iran's regional policy of mobilizing militias in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, even in the war against the Islamic State group. He was also accused of attacks against US troops and US allies that date back decades.

Although it is not clear how or when Iran will respond, reprisals are likely to occur after three days of mourning declared in both Iran and Iraq. All eyes were on Iraq, where the United States and Iran have competed for influence since the US-led invasion in 2003.

After the airstrike early Friday, the US-led coalition reduced operations and increased security and defense measures at the bases that house coalition forces in Iraq, a coalition official said on condition of anonymity. according to regulations.

Meanwhile, the United States has sent another 3,000 troops to neighboring Kuwait, the latest in a series of deployments in recent months as the confrontation with Iran has worsened. Protesters held demonstrations in dozens of U.S. cities on Saturday over Trump's decisions to kill Soleimani and deploy more troops in the Middle East.

In a barely veiled threat, one of Iran's backed militias, Asaib Ahl al-Haq, or the League of the Righteous, called on Iraqi security forces to stay at least one kilometer (0.6 miles) from US bases Starting Sunday night. However, US troops are invariably based on Iraqi military posts alongside local forces.

The Iraqi government, which is closely allied with Iran, condemned the air raid that killed Soleimani and called it an attack on its national sovereignty. Parliament will meet for an emergency session on Sunday, and the government has been under increasing pressure to expel the 5,200 US troops in the country to help prevent the resurgence of the Islamic State group.

Also on Saturday, NATO temporarily suspended all training activities in Iraq due to security concerns, said Canadian Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan.

The US has ordered all citizens to leave Iraq and temporarily closed its embassy in Baghdad , where Iran-backed militiamen and their supporters staged two days of violent protests in which they breached the compound. Britain and France have warned their citizens to avoid or strictly limit travel in Iraq.

No one was injured in the embassy protests, which occurred in response to US air strikes that killed 25 Iranian-backed militiamen in Iraq and Syria. The United States blamed the militia for a rocket attack that killed an American contractor in northern Iraq.