Funerals held all over Iran Monday for Major General Qasem Soleimani offered a striking visual of the consequences of President Donald Trump’s drastic escalation of tensions between the U.S. and Iran, as millions of people poured into the streets to mourn the Iranian military commander.
Footage from Tehran and the city of Ahvaz showed enormous crowds of men, women, and children hailing Soleimani as a martyr and vowing that Trump would be held accountable for the military commander’s assassination.
Farnaz Fassihi, an Iranian-American New York Times journalist who has been covering Iran for a quarter of a century, tweeted that she had “never seen anything like” the “sea of endless people” that had packed the streets of Tehran by 6:00 am.
The mourners gathered around the country as Soleimani’s casket was transported to his hometown of Kerman, where he was to be buried.
The funeral came three days after Soleimani was killed in Baghdad in a U.S. drone strike ordered by the White House without the prior knowledge or approval of Congress.
While the Trump administration claims it had evidence Soleimani was planning imminent attacks against Americans in the Middle East, U.S. lawmakers have called the evidence of this “razor thin.”
Rather, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi told Iraq’s Parliament on Sunday, Soleimani was in Baghdad to discuss diplomacy between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
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