As tensions continue to mount President Trump has ordered the killing of General Qasem Soleimani, Iran’s most powerful military figure.
A statement from the Pentagon said, “At the direction of the president, the US military has taken decisive defensive action to protect US personnel abroad by killing Qasem Soleimani.”
It further stressed that; “The United States will continue to take all necessary action to protect our people and our interests wherever they are around the world.”
The 62-year-old General Qasem Soleimani was considered the second most powerful man in Iran, behind the Supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. General Qasem spearheaded Iranian military operations in the Middle East as head of Iran’s elite Quds Force.
His killing by the US will undoubtedly further escalate the long-standing tensions between Washington and Tehran.
The US Department of Defense claimed in a statement, Soleimani had been “developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region” adding that “This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans”
Under the UN Charter, invasion is only permitted in two circumstances, through invitation by the country involved or as an act of self-defense. The United States is expected to rely on the former as a defense for its action.
“He was actively plotting in the region to take actions — a big action as he described it — that would have put dozens if not hundreds of American lives at risk. We know it was imminent,” Mr. Pompeo told CNN
Reacting to the incident, ran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said “severe revenge awaits the criminals” the US as he announced three days of national mourning.
The US embassy in Baghdad has urged Americans to leave Iraq immediately following the killing of the top military commander. Public consular services are also suspended.
As international reaction began taken shape, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defends the action of the US as “self-defense”
Meanwhile, tens of thousands of Iranians took to the streets of Tehran on Friday to protest against the US killing of the General. Chanting “Death to America” and holding up posters of the slain commander, Qassem Soleimani, the demonstrators filled streets for several blocks in central Tehran after Friday prayers.
EYEGAMBIA will continue to monitor the story as events unfold.