TEHRAN: Several Iranian political and military officials issued warnings over possible hostile movements against Tehran as the country marked the first death anniversary of Qasem Soleimani, the former commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC). "New intelligence from Iraq indicate that Israeli agent-provocateurs are plotting attacks against Americans-putting an outgoing Trump in a bind with a fake casus belli," Xinhua news agency quoted Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as saying on social media. Iran's chief diplomat called on the US President Donald Trump to "be careful of a trap".
Major General Hossein Salami, commander in chief of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), also issued a warning against hostile action taken against Iran.
"We have shown it in practice, and we announce that we will respond to any action taken by the enemy against us with a reciprocal, decisive and solid blow," Salami said.
Soleimani, 63, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy head of Iraq's Hashd al-Shaabi, were killed on January 3, 2020, in a US airstrike that targeted their convoy near the Baghdad International Airport.
As the head of the elite Quds Force, Soleimani had for years wielded his country's influence across the wider Middle East, strengthening Shia militias from Lebanon to Iraq and coming to the aid of Tehran's allies, including Syrian President Bashar Al Assad. He had been on the ground in Syria and Iraq supervising militias backed by Tehran. The Quds Force holds sway over a large number of militias across the region ranging from Lebanon to Syria and Iraq. (IANS)