The twin blasts in Iran’s southern province of Kerman have left open wounds of those who were mourning the killing of Qasem Soleimani, the Iranian General, one of the most powerful figures in Iran and once only second to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The blasts on Wednesday (Jan 3) that killed at least 103 people, which Iranian officials say are caused by “terrorist attacks”, hold a major symbolism as they took place on the fateful day when Soleimani was killed four years ago in a US-orchestrated drone strike.
Soleimani shaped the conflicts across the Middle East for years to come, including the rise of the Iran-backed Houthi militia, the militant group which marked Soleimani’s death last year by erecting larger-than-life figures of the killed commander.
Soleimani led the al-Quds Force in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), the same force which was designated as a foreign terrorist organisation by the US.
The mighty Iranian general called the shots and kept the proxy militias across the Middle East at his fingertips, with one journalist suggesting that Soleimani “matters in death as much as in life.”
Proxy militia across Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon took command from Soleimani and acted upon it.
United States’ targeted drone strike at Baghdad International Airport in January 2020 killed IRGC commander Qasem Soleimani.
The US government at the time justified the strike suggesting that Soleimani was actively planning imminent attacks on American interests in the Middle East and that the decision was framed as a preemptive defensive measure to protect US personnel.
Then US President Donald Trump, as the Commander-in-Chief, authorised the strike which eliminated Soleimani. Trump had said that the action was taken to ‘stop a war’. Iran at the UN likened the move to ‘opening a war.’
The killing of Qasem Soleimani raised concerns about a potential escalation in tensions between the US and Iran. The cause of the twin blasts is still unclear while Iranian officials say that they were “terrorist attacks”.
The airstrike prompted varied international reactions. Some nations expressed concern about the escalation of hostilities. The latest twin attacks come against the backdrop of the Israel-Hamas war and Iran-funded Houthi militia attacks on Red Sea shipping routes.
The death anniversary of the slain general also came at a time when the attacks on US bases in Iraq is becoming rampant, something that the US had accused Soleimani of orchestrating. US Department of Defence accused Soleimani of attack on allied bases in Iraq, including an air strike that resulted in the killing of a US contractor and injured as many as four service members, as per media reports.
Source » wionews