Kayhan Int’l Political Desk
TEHRAN – Head of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Major General Hussein Salami on Tuesday pledged that Iran will avenge the U.S. assassination of top military commander General Qassem Soleimani.
"Certainly, we will avenge the blood of General Soleimani, and we will continue this holy path, part of which he walked until the end, which, God willing, is the liberation of the Holy Quds and the death of the enemies of Islam and their expulsion from the Islamic lands,” Salami said.
The U.S. assassinated General Soleimani and his comrades-in-arms in a drone strike in Baghdad on January 3. Iran responded to the terrorist act with a volley of precision-guided missiles launched at two U.S. airbases in Iraq, which left at least 110 American troops injured.
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said then Iran’s missile attack on U.S. bases in Iraq was just "a slap”.
"The talk of revenge and such debates are a different issue. For now, a slap was delivered on their face last night,” Ayatollah Khamenei said in remarks broadcast live on national television.
Last month, Ayatollah Khamenei told Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Khadhimi in Tehran that Iran will never forget Washington’s assassination and will definitely deliver a "counterblow” to the United States.
General Soleimani’s successor as the head of the Quds Force, General Esmail Qa’ani, has said Iran’s missile strike was "the first slap” to the United States.
On Tuesday, both General Qa’ani and General Salami attended an event along with Iran’s military Chief of Staff General Muhammad Baqeri and Army chief General Adbolrahim Mousavi and Defense Minister Gen. Amir Hatami to mark the 40th anniversary of the Sacred Defense – remembering the Iraqi imposed war of the 1980s on Iran under former dictator Saddam Hussein.
"A misconception that our enemies always have in their calculations about the great nation of Iran is that they think by martyring great personalities, the revolution will stop or slow down, but the facts of the last 41 years have shown that the martyrdom is the driving engine for the power of the resistance and defense of the great nation of Iran and other Muslim nations,” Gen. Salami said.
"This rule applies to the martyrdom of the great, unforgettable and everlasting commander of the Islamic world, General Martyr Qassem Soleimani. And the greater the greatness of martyrdom, the stronger the rises, the uprisings and the flow of the spirit of jihad and martyrdom in society,” he said.
"Even today, the torch of resistance has not fallen from the hand of General Soleimani at all and this flag of resistance is still flying high. The path he took is flowing more rapidly today, and even revenge for his blood has become an ideal today,” the IRGC commander added.
Last month, U.S. weekly magazine Newsweek wrote that six months after the U.S. assassination of General Soleimani, the Islamic Republic’s sophisticated, international war-fighting machine lives on.
According to Newsweek, international experts as well as officials from Iran and the occupying regime of Israel speaking to the magazine all agreed that the IRGC and its esteemed, extraterritorial Quds Force would fight on.
"The strength of the Quds Force is that it does not rely on a single charismatic leader—any more than the Islamic Republic of Iran does,” Barbara Slavin, director of the Atlantic Council’s Future of Iran Initiative, told Newsweek.
"The Quds Force and IRGC are full of veterans of the Iran-Iraq war and other commanders who are now battle-tested in Syria,” she added. "There will be more Soleimanis.”