January 3, 2020 / 4:07 AM / 22 days ago

Factbox: Reactions to the killing of Iranian general in a U.S. air strike

(Reuters) - Here are some reactions to the killing of Qassem Soleimani, head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, in a U.S. air strike on his convoy at Baghdad airport.

IRANIAN SUPREME LEADER AYATOLLAH ALI KHAMENEI:

“All enemies should know that the jihad of resistance will continue with a doubled motivation, and a definite victory awaits the fighters in the holy war,” Khamenei said in a statement carried by TV. Iran often refers to regional countries and forces opposed to Israel and the United States as a “resistance” front.

In a statement later, cited by state media, Khamenei appointed the deputy commander of the Quds Force, Brigadier General Esmail Ghaani, to head the force and said the force “will be unchanged from the time of his predecessor”.

IRANIAN PRESIDENT HASSAN ROUHANI

“Soleimani’s martyrdom will make Iran more decisive to resist America’s expansionism and to defend our Islamic values,” Rouhani said in a statement.

“With no doubt, Iran and other freedom-seeking countries in the region will take his revenge.”

IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER MOHAMMAD JAVAD ZARIF:

“The brutality and stupidity of American terrorist forces in assassinating Commander Soleimani... will undoubtedly make the tree of resistance in the region and the world more prosperous,” Zarif said in a statement.

On Twitter he called the killing “an extremely dangerous and foolish escalation.”

IRAQI PRIME MINISTER ADEL ABDUL MAHDI

The air strike on Baghdad airport is an act of aggression on Iraq and a breach of its sovereignty that will lead to war in Iraq, the region, and the world, Abdul Mahdi said in a statement.

The strike also violated the conditions of U.S. military presence in Iraq and should be met with legislation that safeguards Iraq’s security and sovereignty, he added.

IRAQ’S TOP SHI’ITE CLERIC, AYATOLLAH ALI AL-SISTANI

“The vicious attack on Baghdad international airport last night is an insolent breach of Iraqi sovereignty and international agreements. It led to the killing of several commanders who defeated Islamic State terrorists,” Sistani’s office said in a statement.

“These events and more indicate the country is heading towards very difficult times. We call on all concerned parties to behave with self restraints and act wisely,” he said.

IRAQI SHI’ITE CLERIC MOQTADA AL-SADR

Sadr, who positions himself as a nationalist rejecting both U.S. and Iranian interference in Iraq, called on all sides to behave with “wisdom and shrewdness”.

“As the patron of the patriotic Iraqi resistance I give the order for all mujahideen, especially the Mehdi Army, Promised Day Brigade, and all patriotic and disciplined groups to be ready to protect Iraq,” he said in a statement.

U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE MIKE POMPEO VIA TWITTER:

“Iraqis — Iraqis — dancing in the street for freedom; thankful that General Soleimani is no more.”

NANCY PELOSI, DEMOCRATIC SPEAKER OF U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

“Tonight’s airstrike risks provoking further dangerous escalation of violence. America – and the world – cannot afford to have tensions escalate to the point of no return.”

“The Administration has conducted tonight’s strikes in Iraq without an Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against Iran. Further, this action was taken without the consultation of the Congress.”

U.S. SENATOR JIM RISCH, REPUBLICAN CHAIRMAN OF THE SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE

“Qassem Soleimani was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans,” Risch said on Twitter.

“On behalf of every American serviceman and servicewoman who has either been killed or injured due to an Iranian-provided IED or rocket in Iraq over the years, today justice was done.”

FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN:

“This is a hugely escalatory move in an already dangerous region... President Trump just tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox, and he owes the American people an explanation of the strategy and plan to keep safe our troops and embassy personnel, our people and our interests, both here at home and abroad, and our partners throughout the region and beyond.”

U.S. SENATOR ELIZABETH WARREN, U.S. DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CONTENDER:

“Soleimani was a murderer, responsible for the deaths of thousands, including hundreds of Americans. But this reckless move escalates the situation with Iran and increases the likelihood of more deaths and new Middle East conflict. Our priority must be to avoid another costly war.”

BRITISH FOREIGN MINISTER DOMINIC RAAB:

“We have always recognised the aggressive threat posed by the Iranian Quds force led by Qasem Soleimani. Following his death, we urge all parties to de-escalate. Further conflict is in none of our interests,” he said in an emailed statement.

BASSEM NAIM, SPOKESMAN FOR THE PALESTINIAN GROUP HAMAS

Naim said on Twitter: The assassination “opens the doors of the region to all possibilities, except calm & stability. USA bears the responsibility for that.”

MOHAMMAD REZA SERAJ, A TEACHER IN SOLEIMANI’S HOMETOWN, KERMAN:

“Heroes never die. It cannot be true. Qassem Soleimani will always be alive.”

Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Frances Kerry

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