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Rouhani Says Iran Responded, Will Respond to Soleimani Killing

Rouhani Says Iran Responded, Will Respond to Soleimani Killing

Wednesday, 18 March, 2020 - 08:45
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat

President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday Iran has responded, and will respond, to Washington’s assassination of Major-General Qassem Soleimani, the Revolutionary Guards commander killed in a US drone strike in Iraq in January.

Rouhani was speaking following a cabinet meeting that was broadcast on state television.

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

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 Ali Khamenei.

Longstanding antagonism between the United States and Iran has mostly played out on Iraqi soil in recent months.

Iranian-backed paramilitary groups have regularly rocketed and shelled bases in Iraq which host US forces and the area around the US Embassy in Baghdad.

The United States has in turn conducted several strikes inside Iraq, killing top Soleimani and Kataib Hezbollah founder Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in January.

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