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Mourners attend a funeral ceremony of Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani and others who were killed in Iraq by a U.S. drone strike on January 6, 2020 in Tehran, Iran. (Photo: Majid Saeedi/Getty Images)

'Sea of Endless People' Mourns Soleimani Across Iran, Vowing Trump Will Be Held Accountable for Assassination

"Last month Iran was protesting their government—now millions are united against the United States. Thanks to Donald Trump."

Julia Conley

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.

At Soleimani's state funeral in Tehran, the general's daughter, Zeinab, said Trump has now "brought Iran and Iraq closer together."

"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."

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.

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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