On Tuesday, more than 1 million people gathered at Maj Gen Qasem Soleimani’s funeral in Iran. According to Iran’s official news channel, in Soleimani’s home state of Kerman, a stampede occurred before the burial. As many as 40 people were killed and more than 200 were seriously injured in the incident. Soleimani was killed by the US in a drone attack at Baghdad Airport.
Iran’s local media quoted head of Emergency Medical Services Pir-Hossein Kolivand as saying that many people were killed in the stampede. However, he did not give the figure of the dead. It is reported that the crowd was so high that people were not able to get out of the metro station.
After the assassination of Maj Gen Soleimani, Iran declared all US forces as terrorists. Iran has thus given itself the right to take action against the US military present around its territory. According to the Iranian Parliament, now any help (intelligence, technical, financial) of these forces in West Asia will be termed as a collaboration with terrorism.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani tweeted, “Those who refer to the number 52 should also remember the number 290. #IR655 Never threaten the Iranian nation.”
Trump had recently threatened to target Iran’s 52 locations in case Iran attacks its installations in the Middle East again. The number the US president mentioned has a historical context. In 1979, Iranian protesters had attacked the US embassy and taken 52 diplomats as hostages. They were kept in jails for 444 days.
In 1988, an American warship targeted Iran Airlines civil aircraft. killing 290 air passengers. The “290” that Rouhani mentioned in his tweet is related to this incident. The new general of the Quds Army, Hossein Salami, said that Maj Gen Soleimani had become more powerful after his martyrdom. The enemy killed them unjustly.
Today, the body of Soleimani was accorded a royal funeral. Millions of people gathered in his funeral. Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif posted several tweets on it. He said, “@realDonaldTrump threatens Iran with violations of intl law — even war crimes such as (the) use of force, “disproportionate response” & bombing cultural sites. Iranian people responded today. Does he still hope to frighten them? Or realize he’s turned the U.S. into a #RogueRegime?”
“What the US has accomplished in its terrorist assassination of anti-ISIS heroes is to unleash global anti-US fury and worldwide rancour — on a scale not seen in recent memory. End of malign US presence in West Asia has begun,” Zarif wrote.
The foreign minister of Iran concluded by saying, “While US displays utter contempt for UN Charter & its catastrophic adventurism encourages extremism and terror, tomorrow we’ll host Tehran Dialogue Forum & discuss ways of achieving regional security, incl Hormuz Peace Endeavor #HOPE.”
A section of the international media commented that Maj Gen Soleimani was immensely popular in his country, evident from the highest number of youth seen ever in Iran at his funeral. Among them were school-college students. Most people were shouting ‘Death to Trump’ (death to Trump).