Crying, the supreme leader of Iran prays for the coffin of General Soleimani

TEHERAN: Crying amid the cries of a crowd of hundreds of thousands of mourners, the supreme leader of Iran prayed on Monday for the remains of an important Iranian general killed in a US air strike in Baghdad, an attack that dramatically increased tensions between Tehran and Washington.

The selective assassination of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, General Qassem Soleimani, has already seen his replacement vote to take revenge. In addition, Tehran has abandoned the remaining limits of its 2015 nuclear agreement with the world powers in response to the killing, while in Iraq, parliament has called for the expulsion of all US troops from Iraqi soil.

The events could bring Iran closer to building an atomic bomb, unleashing a proxy or military attack launched by Tehran against the United States and allowing the Islamic State group to return to Iraq, making the Middle East a much more dangerous and unstable place.

Adding to the tensions, President Donald Trump He threatened to demand billions of dollars in compensation to Iraq or impose sanctions as they had never seen before if US troops are expelled.

Soleimani's daughter, Zeinab, directly threatened an attack against the US military in the Middle East while speaking with a crowd of hundreds of thousands in Tehran that stretched as far as the eye could see. Iranian state television calculated the size of the crowd in millions, although that number could not be verified.

The families of American soldiers in western Asia ... will spend their days waiting for the deaths of their children, he told his cheers.

he himself prayed for the coffins of Soleimani and other dead in the attack. Khamenei, who had a close relationship with Soleimani, cried at one time during traditional Muslim prayers for the dead. The crowd groaned.

Soleimani's successor, Esmail Ghaani, was close to Khamenei's side, as was Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and other senior leaders of the Islamic Republic. While Iran recently faced nationwide protests over government-established gasoline prices that reportedly killed more than 300 people, the mass processions of Soleimani have seen politicians and leaders from across the political spectrum of the Islamic Republic, temporarily silencing that anger.

Ghaani made his own threat in an interview with Iranian state television broadcast on Monday. Almighty God has promised to take revenge, and God is the main avenger. Certainly measures will be taken, he said.

Ghaani, a longtime deputy of Soleimani, has now assumed the position of head of the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guard, an expeditionary arm of the paramilitary organization that only responds to Khamenei. Ghaani has been sanctioned by the US. UU. Since 2012 for his work financing his operations worldwide, including his work with representatives in Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen.

Those representatives will likely be involved in any operation aimed at the interests of the United States in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world.

The US embassy in Saudi Arabia has already warned Americans about the increased risk of missile and drone attacks. In Lebanon, the leader of the Iran-backed militant group, Hezbollah, said the killing of Soleimani caused military bases, warships and members of the US service. UU. Throughout the region they were a fair game for attacks. A former leader of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard suggested that the Israeli city of Haifa and others could be attacked if the United States attacks Iran.

We promise to follow the path of the martyr Soleimani as firmly as before with the help of God, and in exchange for his martyrdom, our goal is to get rid of the United States from the region, Ghaani said.

The head of the Guard's aerospace program, General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, suggested that Iran's response would not stop with a single attack.

Shooting a pair of missiles, hitting a base or even killing (Donald) Trump is not valuable enough to make up for the blood of the martyr Soleimani, Hajizadeh said on state television. The only thing that can compensate for their blood is the complete removal of the United States from the region and take away their evil from the oppressed people of the region.

On the nuclear agreement, Iranian state television quoted a statement from the Rouhani administration on Sunday that said the country would not observe the restrictions of the nuclear agreement on fuel enrichment, the size of its enriched uranium arsenal and its research activities and development.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson specifically urged Iran to withdraw all measures that are not in line with the 2015 agreement that was intended to prevent Tehran pursue your atomic weapons program.

Iran insisted that it remains open to negotiations with European partners on its nuclear program. And he did not depart from previous promises that he would not seek a nuclear weapon.

However, the announcement represents the clearest threat of nuclear proliferation that Iran has made since Trump unilaterally withdrew from the agreement in 2018 and again imposed sanctions last year. Regional tensions are raised even more, as the entire life of enemy Iran Israel has promised will never allow Iran to produce an atomic bomb.

Iran did not give details on what levels it would reach immediately in its program. Tehran has already broken some of the limits of the agreement as part of a step-by-step pressure campaign to get relief from sanctions. It has already increased its production, began to enrich uranium to 5% and restarted the enrichment in an underground facility.

While it does not have enriched uranium at weapons grade levels of 90%, any forward momentum reduces the estimated starting time of a year necessary for it to have enough material to build a nuclear weapon if it so decides.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations control agency that observes Iran's program, did not respond to a request for comment. However, Iran said its cooperation with the IAEA will continue as before.

Soleimani's assassination has intensified the crisis between Tehran and Washington after months of round-trip attacks and threats that have put them on the edge of the Middle East. Iran has promised a severe revenge, while Trump has promised on Twitter that the United States will return the blow to 52 VERY FAST AND VERY HARD targets.

He doubled that threat on Sunday, dismissing warnings that attacking cultural sites could be a war crime under international law.

They are allowed to kill our people. They are allowed to torture and maim our people. They are allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people. And we are not allowed to touch their cultural sites? It's not like that? It doesn't work that way, Trump told reporters.

On Sunday, hundreds of thousands of mourners accompanied the coffin with the remains of Soleimani in the Iranian cities of Ahvaz and Mashhad. A similar procession was expected in Qom and Tehran on Monday. Tens of thousands have already filled the streets of the Iranian capital on Monday morning.

The mourners dressed in black beat their chests and carried posters with the portrait of Soleimani. Protesters also displayed Shia red flags, which traditionally symbolize both the spilled blood of someone unjustly murdered and a call for revenge.

The processions mark the first time that Iran honors a single man with a ceremony in several cities. Not even ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini , who founded the Islamic Republic, received such a procession with his death in 1989. Soleimani will remain in the state on Monday at the famous Musalla de Tehran mosque as the revolutionary leader did before him.

He will be buried in his hometown of Kerman.