A day after the White House warned Iran not to harm Americans, the IRGC commander said Monday that vengeance for the assassination of Qasem Soleimani was still ongoing.
At a ceremony in Tehran, Hossein Salami said, without referring to the warning from US Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, âWe have taken some of the vengeance, and some of it is still unfulfilled, and everyone certainly knows. American officials should know that they cannot engage in aggression against a nation and avoid revenge. “
General Soleimani, Iran’s senior military and intelligence officer in the region who organized militant surrogate forces, was killed in a drone strike in Baghdad on January 3, 2020 by a decision by the United States. Iran retaliated by firing ballistic missiles at bases in Iraq five days later to pick up US troops.
On Saturday, Iran has issued a new list of Americans it holds Soleimani responsible for the murder after senior officials spoke of revenge throughout the week on the second anniversary of his death.
Sullivan in his Sunday statement warned Tehran of “serious consequences” when it attacks Americans. “We will work with our allies and partners to deter and respond to attacks by Iran,” he said. “Should Iran attack any of our nationals, including any of the 51 people named yesterday, the consequences will be dire.”
Salami didn’t mention Sullivan’s statement on Monday. In fact, government-controlled media and officials remained silent on Monday morning, ignoring the White House warning. But Salami’s explicit remarks about unfinished vengeance appears to be an indirect response to Sullivan’s warning.
Salami also claimed in his speech that the Islamic Republic had succeeded in uniting “Muslims in the region” against the US. When Iranian officials use the word “Muslims,” ââthe underlying meaning is often Shi’ites, not necessarily Sunnis, who the Iranian clergy do not consider their religious leaders.
Apart from the Palestinian Hamas, most of Iran’s allies and proxies in Iraq, Syria and Yemen are Shiites or sects close to Iranian Shiism.
The IRGC commander also praised the strengthening of the Lebanese Hezbollah and the “arming of Palestine” which was able to “wage major wars with Israel”.
Overall, Salami’s remarks contained more religious metaphors than ever before, much praise for “martyrs” and “jihad”. He said the fight against “arrogance,” a term mainly used to refer to the United States, goes beyond Iran’s borders and has united Muslims.
In an implicit reference to Tehran’s influence in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, Salami said, “The Islamic revolution has conquered large areas and many hearts, and the enemy is on the retreat.”