TEHRAN (Dispatches) -- Iran is ready to strike the United States and the occupying regime of Israel if they give it any reason to do so, the head of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) said on Thursday.
"If you make the slightest error, we will hit both of you,” Major General Hussein Salami said at a ceremony marking the 40th day since the U.S. assassination of top commander General Qassem Soleimani.
General Soleimani, who was head of the Quds Force, was martyred by a U.S. drone in Baghdad on Jan. 3 along with Iraq’s anti-terror commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.
The assassination of Gen. Soleimani will lead to the liberation of Jerusalem Al-Quds, IRGC spokesman General Ramezan Sharif said in the northwestern Iranian city of Urmia.
"The cowardly and craven assassination of commander Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis by the Americans will lead to the liberation of Al-Quds, by the grace of God,” he said.
Over the weekend, former IRGC head Mohsen Rezaei told Lebanon’s Al-Mayadeen TV station that Iran was just looking for an excuse to "raze Tel Aviv to the ground” after pounding two U.S. bases in Iraqi in response to the assassination.
"If they (the U.S.) had done something, we could have used it
as a pretext to attack Israel, because Israel played a role in the martyrdom of General Soleimani,” he said, blaming the Zionist regime for tipping off the Americans to Gen. Soleimani’s location.
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said last week that Iran would support Palestinian resistance movements as much as it could and urged Palestinians to confront a U.S. plan catering to every wish of the occupying regime of Israel.
On Thursday, Iranian national TV aired an interview with Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah in which he described a close relationship with Gen. Soleimani, highlighting the key role the charismatic general played in helping build up Hezbollah’s rocket arsenal as well as his role in military operations during Hezbollah’s war with the occupying regime of Israel in 2006.
Gen. Soleimani also played an important role in Iraq’s battle against Daesh, Nasrallah said, and asked for Hezbollah operational commanders to work with Iraqi security forces in battling the Takfiri group when they first blazed across large swathes of Iraq in 2014.
Nasrallah said the U.S. crossed the red lines with its assassination, emphasizing that the incident changed all regional equations.
"The Americans must know that they have crossed all red lines and changed regional equations by assassinating Gen. Soleimani. The event has pitted the ‘axis of resistance’ and regional nations against the United States,” he said.
Nasrallah said the assassination of the top Iranian commander helped the entire Muslim Ummah discern their worst enemy, namely the Great Satan which is the United States.
Separately, Gen. Soleimani urged Iranians to support Ayatollah Khamenei and said political factions should put aside their differences. He made the call in his will, which was read by the new Quds Force chief, Brigadier General Esmail Qa’ani, at a ceremony in Tehran.
Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people in Iraq and Pakistan held ceremonies to mark the 40th day after the martyrdom of Gen. Soleimani and Muhandis.
Iraqi people from various governorates flocked to the holy city of Najaf on Friday to pay tribute to the martyrs.
The Iraqis, coming from Baghdad, Dhi Qar, Basra, Maysan, Karbala, Wasit, Diyala, Nineveh, Saladin, and al-Qadisiyyah governorates, headed to Wadi-us-Salaam cemetery close to the holy shrine of Imam Ali (AS) in Najaf in order to visit the tomb of Muhandis.
The huge crowds of people chanted "Death to America” and "Death to Israel”, carrying the flags of Iraq and anti-terror resistance groups as well as photos of al-Muhandis and General Soleimani.
Also on Friday, a huge number of Pakistanis came all the way from the city of Karachi to the Iranian city of Kerman, where General Soleimani is laid to rest.
The Pakistani mourners believe what General Soleimani has done is unprecedented in the history of mankind, and they feel duty-bound to follow his path.
On Thursday, thousands of Iranians gathered at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini Grand Prayer Grounds to mark 40 days since the martyrdom of Gen. Soleimani and his companions.