Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday said the United States committed a “grave mistake” in killing Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani and that Americans “will face the consequences of this criminal act not only today, but also in the coming years.”
His remarks came on the same day mourners in neighboring Iraq were chanting “Death to America” at a funeral procession for Soleimani and an Iraqi militia leader who died with him in a US airstrike in Iraq Friday morning.
“The Americans did not understand what grave mistake they committed,” Rouhani said while visiting the house of Soleimani’s family in Tehran.
The strike killed Soleimani, head of Iran’s Quds Force, at Baghdad International Airport, along with Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy head of the Iran-backed Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces. At least six other people were killed in the strikes.
The airstrikes mark a great escalation in the Middle east with Washington.
President Donald Trump on Friday said he ordered the death of Soleimani, one of Iran’s most powerful men, to stop a war, not start one, as tensions between the two nations were already escalating.
Trump said Soleimani was plotting “imminent and sinister attacks” on Americans.
The Pentagon blamed Soleimani for hundreds of deaths of Americans and their allies. “General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region,” the Pentagon said, calling the strike “decisive defensive” action aimed at deterring Iranian attacks.