US President Donald Trump said on Saturday that Washington was observing Iranian demonstrations closely, warning against any new “massacre” as protests broke out after Tehran admitted to shooting down a passenger plane.
Iran said earlier it accidentally shot-down a Ukrainian jet outside Tehran, killing all 176 people aboard. The firing came shortly after Iran launched missiles at bases in Iraq housing US forces.
At a student protest to pay tribute to the crash victims on Saturday, Iranian authorities briefly detained Britain’s ambassador, in what the British government called a violation of international law. He was later released.
Trump told Iranians — in tweets in both English and Farsi — that he stands by them and is monitoring the demonstrations. “To the brave, long-suffering people of Iran: I’ve stood with you since the beginning of my Presidency, and my Administration will continue to stand with you,” he tweeted.
“We are following your protests closely, and are inspired by your courage,” he said.
“There can not be another massacre of peaceful protesters, nor an internet shutdown. The world is watching,” he added, apparently referring to an Iranian crackdown on street protests that broke out in November
Earlier on January 3, an airstrike ordered by the US President Donald Trump killed Iran’s supreme military commander Qassem Soleimani.
In a statement issued by the Pentagon it said, “At the direction of the president, the US military has taken decisive defensive action to protect US personnel abroad by killing Qassem Soleimani.”
The Pentagon also said “This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans. The United States will continue to take all necessary action to protect our people and our interests wherever they are around the world.”
Although the Trump administration is delighted after his death but the situation in Iran and Iraq is deteriorating. Right after this attack, millions of protesters in both Iraq and Iran criticised the US administration and raised slogans of “Death To America”. In Iraq’s parliament too, the situation became grim when the ministers there used Anti-US slogans and turned violent.
The attack which killed Soleimani was a triggering point between US-Iran relations. One should not forget that people of Iran and her allies knew the role of Soleimani which was not just pivotal but it was because of him that IRGC and other Shiite forces played managed in suppressing the ISIS.
The experts on Middle East socio-political conditions says that Soleimaini could be seen everywhere. By this they meant that be it Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen or in Lebanon, he had strong ties with everyone which made Iran a pivotal player in the Middle-East Politics. In the past few decades, Iran conducted proxy wars in Syria, Yemen and in Lebanon headed by Soleimani.
Amir Hatami, Iran’s Defence Minister said that “A crushing revenge will be taken for Soleimani’s unjust assassination… We will take revenge from all those involved and responsible for his assassination”.
Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s President condemned this coward attack against his country’s second most powerful man and said, “Soleimani’s martyrdom will make Iran more decisive to resist America’s expansionism and to defend our Islamic values. With no doubt, Iran and other freedom-seeking countries in the region will take his revenge.”
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader and a close aide to Soleimaini also warned that “harsh retaliation” is waiting for the US and later in a tweet warned the US by “His blood was shed by the most barbaric of men… The loss of our dear General is bitter. The continuing fight & ultimate victory will be bitterer for the murderers & criminals.”
This war of words is not just limited to words but sooner they could prove to be catastrophic. The signals of World War 3 could be seen but it is too early to get to a conclusion.
Allies of Iran
From the last two decades, Iran with the help of Soleimaini tactics has enjoyed loyalty from lakhs of soldiers from Iraq, Yemen, Syria and the Gaza strip.
Right after the US invasion in Iraq in 2003, it was the leadership of Soleimani under which Iran helped and financed in creating Shiite militias in Iraq. Even in the Gaza strip, Iran has always stood with the Palestine refugees and has regularly condemned the violent attacks on them by Israel.
Hezbollah is another ally of Iran which is a Lebanon political and militant group. The group is among the most effective armed factions in the region, extending Iran’s influence to Israel’s doorstep.
The proxy war which is going in Yemen, Iran has always helped the Shiite Houthi rebels which are fighting against Saudi Arabia. The proxy war has led to the worst human rights violations around the globe and most of the Western states and organisations have accused Tehran of supplying arms to the group, an accusation denied by Iran
In Syria also, the leadership under Soleimani has always stood against the ISIS and backed the government of Bashar-Al-Assad. Iran has been vehemently backed by Russia and supported, rather clandestinely by China.