An Iranian parliamentarian threatened the White House, and lawmakers chanted, “Death to America!”
By World Israel News Staff and AP
Iran threatened to attack the White House after President Donald Trump warned that he has a list of 52 targets in Iran should the Islamic Republic attempt to take revenge on the U.S. for its elimination of Qasem Soleimani.
“We can attack the White House itself, we can respond to them on the American soil. We have the power, and God willing we will respond in an appropriate time,” said Iranian MP Abolfazl Abutorabi, reports the Iranian Labour News Agency.
“When someone declares war do you want to respond to the bullets with flowers? They will shoot you in the head,” Abutorabi said.
The Iranian parliament on Sunday opened with lawmakers in unison chanting: “Death to America!”
Parliament speaker Ali Larijani compared Soleimani’s killing to the 1953 CIA-backed coup that cemented the shah’s power and to the U.S. Navy’s shootdown of an Iranian passenger plane in 1988 that killed 290 people. He also described American officials as following “the law of the jungle.”
A stunned leadership
Iran’s leadership was clearly caught by surprise by the dramatic killing of the leader of its Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corp. Soleimani, considered the mastermind behind Iranian expansionist aggression across the Middle East was killed by an American drone strike.
Iran declared a three-day period of mourning and tens of thousands of mourners accompanied a casket carrying the remains of the slain general through two major Iranian cities on Sunday. It was part of a grand funeral procession across the Islamic Republic for the commander.
Soleimani’s body will go to Tehran and Qom on Monday for public mourning processions, followed by his hometown of Kerman for burial Tuesday.
This marks the first time Iran honored a single man with a multi-city ceremony. Not even Khomeini received such a processional with his death in 1989. Soleimani on Monday will lie in state at Tehran’s famed Musalla mosque as the revolutionary leader did before him.
Vows of revenge
Iran has promised “harsh revenge” for the U.S. attack, which shocked Iranians across all political lines. Many saw Soleimani as a pillar of the Islamic Republic at a moment when it is beset by U.S. sanctions and recent anti-government protests.
Retaliation for Soleimani could potentially come through the proxy forces which he oversaw as the head of an elite unit within the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard. Soleimani’s longtime deputy Esmail Ghaani already has taken over as the Quds Force’s commander.
Late Saturday, a series of rockets launched in Baghdad fell inside or near the Green Zone, which houses government offices and foreign embassies, including the U.S. Embassy.
Though it’s unclear how or when Iran may respond, any retaliation was likely to come after the mourning period.
Trump issues own warning
President Donald Trump has threatened to bomb 52 sites in Iran if it retaliates by attacking Americans. The U.S. Embassy in Saudi Arabia separately warned Americans “of the heightened risk of missile and drone attacks.” Meanwhile, Iran vowed to take an even-greater step away from its unraveling nuclear deal with world powers as a response to Soleimani’s slaying.
Trump wrote on Twitter afterward that the U.S. had already “targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture.”
Trump did not identify the targets but added that they would be “HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD.”
After the airstrike early Friday, the U.S.-led coalition has scaled back operations and boosted “security and defensive measures” at bases hosting coalition forces in Iraq, a coalition official said on condition of anonymity according to regulations.
Meanwhile, the U.S. has dispatched another 3,000 troops to neighboring Kuwait, the latest in a series of deployments in recent months as the standoff with Iran has worsened. Protesters held demonstrations in dozens of U.S. cities Saturday over Trump’s decisions to kill Soleimani and deploy more troops to the Mideast.