Jan 05, 2020
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.
\u201cThis is Soleimani's funeral today in Tehran.\n\nLast month Iran was protesting their government - now millions are united against the United States. Thanks to Donald Trump.\n\nHis illegal act of war is yet another reason he should be removed. Now.\u201d— Read Jackson Rising by @CooperationJXN (@Read Jackson Rising by @CooperationJXN) 1578323975
\u201cWhat appears to be millions attending Soleimani\u2019s funeral procession in Ahvaz, an Iranian city usually described by mainstream media as \u201crestive\u201d, and hence hardly a Soleimani stronghold. Trump doesn\u2019t know what is awaiting him across the Middle East\u201d— Amal Saad (@Amal Saad) 1578213564
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.
\u201c#Iran State Funeral for Gen. Sulaimani begins in Tehran. Millions are out. Sea of endless people by 6 am. In 25 years covering Iran, have never seen anything like this. \n#SoleimaniFuneral #IranAttacks\u201d— Farnaz Fassihi (@Farnaz Fassihi) 1578283573
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.
At Soleimani's state funeral in Tehran, the general's daughter, Zeinab, said Trump has now "brought Iran and Iraq closer together."
\u201cSoleimani\u2019s daughter speaking now. Our interpreter says the gist of it is, she says \u2014Mr. Trump, you have killed my father. But you have brought Iran and Iraq closer together.\u201d— Mary Louise Kelly (@Mary Louise Kelly) 1578294613
"You crazy Trump, the symbol of ignorance, the slave of Zionists, don't think that the killing of my father will finish everything," Zeinab Soleimani said.
A number of observers wrote that the country exhibited a new level of unification against the U.S. at the funeral.
"This is a historic scene," tweeted Dr. Jennifer Cassidy, a politics lecturer at Oxford University. "Trump has united a country like never before. We're witnessing one the most seismic moments in history."
\u201cThe first station for #Soleimani\u2019s funeral was #Ahvaz, the funeral continues in #Mashhad, then #Tehran, #Qom, and #Kerman... probably this is the biggest ever funeral in the history of #Iran\u201d— Ali Hashem \u0639\u0644\u064a \u0647\u0627\u0634\u0645 (@Ali Hashem \u0639\u0644\u064a \u0647\u0627\u0634\u0645) 1578221342
Reporting for NPR from the funeral in Tehran, Mary Louisa Kelly wrote that although many attendees carried signs emblazoned with the words "Down With U.S.A." and "Hard Revenge," their message was clearly aimed at the U.S. government--not at civilians.
\u201cCrowds here polite, nodding to us, touching their hearts in gesture of respect. The flags they carry say \u201cDown with USA\u201d and \u201cHard Revenge.\u201d\u201d— Mary Louise Kelly (@Mary Louise Kelly) 1578295014
The crowds included Iranians from across the political spectrum, reported the New York Times, including reformers who are opposed to President Hassan Rouhani's government but viewed Soleimani's killing as an attack on the entire country.
"People are incensed over what the U.S. did and are uniting to demonstrate that," tweeted Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, a journalist based in Berlin.
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