Iran Commander Repeats Call For Revenge On US Soil For Soleimani’s Killing
Brigadier General Esmail Ghaani, commander of Iran’s extraterritorial Qods Force, has reiterated threats against United States officials for killing his predecessor Qasem Soleimani on January 3, 2020, saying revenge might be taken on American soil. “You are no longer at peace in your own homes,” Ghaani said in a speech on Wednesday [January 6], during a ceremony marking the first anniversary of Soleimani’s death, in the slain commander’s home city of Kerman.
Iran has repeatedly vowed to take revenge from the specific people responsible for both making the decision to assassinate Soleimani and for carrying it out - including President Donald Trump who said publicly he ordered the drone strike. The attack killed nine in addition to Soleimani, including Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, deputy head of Iraq’s Hashd al-Shaabi militia.
CBS News reported that air traffic controllers in New York heard a digital voice threat on their frequncies January 4 saying, “We are flying a plane into the Capitol on Wednesday. Soleimani will be avenged." US law enforcement agencies are investigating the incident.
The attack was judged by Agnes Callamard, the United Nations special rapporteur on extra-judicial, summary and arbitrary executions, to be unlawful killing and in violation of the UN Charter. Iran has recently asked Interpol for Trump and 47 others to be arrested.
This is the third time since December 30 that Ghaani has threatened US officials, suggesting they could be attacked on US soil. On December 30, the Qods commander told parliament that those responsible for Soleimani’s killing “should learn how to live secretly like Salman Rushdie.”
In 1989 Iran’s leader Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, or religious ruling, calling for the death of British-Indian author Salman Rushdie for blasphemy in his 1988 novel, The Satanic Verses. Rushdie lived under protection for many years, and his public appearances remain limited.
Ghaani was appointed to head the Qods Force, which is part of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on the day Soleimani died. Ghaani has generally been more outspoken than his predecessor, with analysts differing over how far his replacement of Soleimani has affected the effectiveness of the Qods Force, which co-ordinates Iran’s relations with regional allies.
Tensions in the final days of the Trump presidency have been high, especially since a rocket attack by a Tehran-allied militia on the ‘green zone’ in Baghdad hit the US embassy on December 20, the flying of US B-52 bombers over the Persian Gulf, and the withdrawal and subsequent return of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz. The anniversary of Soleimani’s death contributed to feelings running high in both Iraq and Iran.