Times of Israel/TEHRAN — Washington asked Tehran to respond “in proportion” after US forces killed top Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani, the deputy commander of the Revolutionary Guards said Friday.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps confirmed Soleimani, the commander of its Quds Force foreign operations arm, had been killed in a US airstrike near Baghdad airport.

After the attack, the Americans “resorted to diplomatic measures… on Friday morning,” Rear-Admiral Ali Fadavi told state television that night.

They “even said that if you want to get revenge, get revenge in proportion to what we did,” he said, quoted on the broadcaster’s website.

Ali Fadavi, Deputy Chief of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), delivers a speech during Basij Week in the Iranian capital Tehran on November 24, 2019. (Atta Kenare/AFP)

Fadavi did not say how Iran received the message from its arch-enemy, even though Tehran and Washington have had no diplomatic relations for four decades.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a separate television interview on Friday night that “Switzerland’s envoy transmitted a foolish message from the Americans this morning.”

The Swiss official “was summoned in the evening and received a decisive response in writing… to the Americans’ audacious letter,” Zarif added.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif smiles as he meets French Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian (not seen) on September 22, 2019, in New York City. (Johannes EISELE / AFP)

Switzerland’s embassy in Tehran has represented US interests in the Islamic republic since ties were cut in 1980.

But Fadavi said the United States was not in a position “to determine” Iran’s response.

“The Americans must await severe revenge. This revenge will not be limited to Iran,” he said.

“The ‘Resistance Front,’ with a vast geography, is ready to materialize this revenge,” he added, referring to Iran’s allies across the Middle East.

Illustrative: A Fateh-110 ballistic missile, displayed at an Iranian armed forces parade in 2012. (military.ir/Wikimedia Commons)
Illustrative: A Fateh-110 ballistic missile, displayed at an Iranian armed forces parade in 2012. (military.ir/Wikimedia Commons)

The US said seeing signs Iran prepping ballistic missiles as Tehran vows revenge

Officials tell CNN there are intense efforts to assess when Tehran will attempt to retaliate for the killing of top general — with estimates ranging between days and weeks


The US is seeing indications that Iran has stepped up its readiness to launch short and medium-range ballistic missiles following the killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, in an American airstrike, CNN reported Saturday.

The network quoted an unnamed US official with direct knowledge on the issue, as Washington braces for Iran’s response to Friday’s strike. Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has said Tehran will react with “harsh revenge” to the hit on the popular general, who was his personal friend.

US intelligence is conducting surveillance by various means to assess when the missiles could be ready to launch, the report said.

Meanwhile, another unnamed US official told CNN that American defense chiefs were holding intense discussions as they try to ascertain whether Iran plans to retaliate in the next few days, with “conflicting views” on when a major attack may come.

An assault was definitely expected “within weeks” at maximum, the official said.

Mourners wave the national flag and the Hashed al-Shaabi flag as they carry the portrait Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani during a funeral procession in Kadhimiya, a Shiite pilgrimage district of Baghdad, on January 4, 2020. (SABAH ARAR / AFP)

Iran has vowed harsh retaliation for the death of Soleimani, the mastermind of its regional military strategy. He was killed early Friday near the Baghdad international airport along with senior Iraqi militants in an airstrike ordered by US President Donald Trump. The attack has caused regional tensions to soar and tested the US alliance with Iraq.

A senior Iranian commander on Saturday threatened that some 35 US targets in the Middle East, as well as Tel Aviv, were within reach of Tehran to avenge the killing of Soleimani.

“The Strait of Hormuz is a vital point for the West and a large number of American destroyers and warships cross there… vital American targets in the region have been identified by Iran since a long time ago,” said General Gholamali Abuhamzeh, the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps in the southern province of Kerman, according to the Reuters news agency.

“Some 35 US targets in the region, as well as Tel Aviv, are within our reach,” he added.

Israel has reportedly raised its security alert at missions worldwide, and the IDF has heightened its alert, amid Iranian revenge threats.

Israel will convene its security cabinet on Sunday in the wake of Iranian threats to avenge Soleimani.

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Saturday stressed the “need for de-escalation.”

After meeting Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Brussels, Borrell tweeted: “Spoke w Iranian FM @JZarif about recent developments. Underlined need for de-escalation of tensions, to exercise restraint & avoid further escalation.”

IDF troops near the Israel-Syria border, in the Golan Heights on January 3, 2020. (Basel Awidat/Flash90)

The strike has raised fears of an all-out war, but it’s unclear how or when Iran might respond. Any retaliation was likely to come after three days of mourning declared in both Iran and Iraq. All eyes were on Iraq, where America and Iran have competed for influence since the 2003 US-led invasion.

Trump said he ordered the strike, a high-risk decision that was made without consulting Congress or US allies, to prevent a conflict. US officials say Soleimani was plotting a series of attacks that endangered American troops and officials, without providing evidence.

Soleimani was the architect of Iran’s regional policy of mobilizing militias across Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, including in the war against the Islamic State group. He was also blamed for attacks on US troops and American allies going back decades.

After the early Friday attack, the US-led coalition has scaled back operations and boosted “security and defensive measures” at bases hosting coalition forces in Iraq, a coalition official said on the condition of anonymity according to regulations. Meanwhile, the US has dispatched another 3,000 troops to neighbor Kuwait, the latest in a series of deployments in recent months as the standoff with Iran has worsened.

This photo released by the Iraqi Prime Minister Press Office shows a burning vehicle at the Baghdad International Airport following an airstrike in Baghdad, Iraq, January 3, 2020. (Iraqi Prime Minister Press Office via AP)

In a thinly veiled threat, one of the Iran-backed militia, Kataeb Hezbollah, or Hezbollah Brigades, called on Iraqi security forces to stay at least 1,000 meters (0.6 miles) away from US bases starting Sunday night.

“The leaders of the security forces should protect their fighters and not allow them to become human shields to the occupying Crusaders,” the warning statement said, in reference to the coalition bases. The group is founded by Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a senior Iraqi militia commander who was killed in the same strike.

Later Saturday evening, a series of rockets were launched and fell inside or near the Green Zone, which houses government offices and foreign embassies, including the US Embassy.

No one was injured by a Katyusha rocket that fell inside a square less than one kilometer from the embassy, according to an Iraqi security official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters. Another rocket in Baghdad landed about 500 meters from As-Salam palace where the Iraqi President Barham Salih normally stays in Jadriya, a neighborhood adjacent to the Green Zone, the official said.

Another security official said three rockets fell outside an air base north of Baghdad were American contractors are normally present. The rockets landed outside the base in a farm area and there were no reports of damages, according to the official.

US Marines load a C-130 plane to reinforce the Baghdad Embassy Compound in Iraq, Dec. 31, 2019. (US Marine Corps/Sgt. Kyle C. Talbot)

Also on Saturday, a spokesman for the Iraqi armed forces said the movement of coalition forces, including US troops, in the air and on the ground will be restricted, conditioned on receiving approval from Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi, the commander in chief of the armed forces.

It was not immediately clear what the new restrictions would mean, given that coalition troops were already subject to limitations and had to be coordinated with the Joint Operation Command of top Iraqi military commanders.


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  1. I wonder if Russia or China would be willing to share their spy satellite images of the US’s preparedness in the ME to Iran? That way Iran will have to to date information regarding US assets to target in the off chance the SHTF. The US does have an advantage in its satellite imaging capabilities which would show most of Iran’s above ground military readiness and be able to plot targets. God I hope cool heads prevail. I have a vested interest in Iran. I have close friends that live there and their families.

  2. I believe French politicians have to have graduated in government and administration, at a particular university dedicated for that purpose. Perhaps someone can provide more details.

  3. Send Major Gabbard more campaign donations, just in case We make it to the elections.
    Tulsi 2020 dot com


  4. terribly naive to think trump decided this, of his own violation !
    the asshole who deserves our collective ire, is israel’s bibi, rabbi trump’s spirtual leader

  5. Here is the latest nonsense from Adolph Trump:
    https://www.aol.com/article/news/2020/01/04/trump-vows-to-hit-52-iranian-targets-if-iran-retaliates-after-drone-strike/23893042/ Fool Trump does not know the history of the criminal imposition of the dictator Shah by the U.S. which led to the takeover of the embassy. The criminals in the U.S. started it all so they could get better oil prices. The first thing Iran must do is end all oil shipments to the U.S. period. They must shut down all US shipping over there forever. This is the only kind of language these ignorant crooks might understand. We lowly citizens had nothing to do with what the dictators running the U.S. do. Shame on all of them.

  6. Not only should it be legal, but it should be required for all of our high level assassins I mean politicians to smoke, it might chill them out.

  7. If true, US leadership is insane…if it were a person it would be in a straight jacket and in a padded cell.

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