Esmail Qaani, the new commander of the Quds Force within the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), has promised that revenge for the assassination of his predecessor, General Qassem Soleimani, will be taken in a “manly fashion”.
Speaking yesterday at a ceremony introducing him as Soleimani’s replacement, Qaani added that Soleimani was killed in a “cowardly” way. “But with God’s grace and through endeavours of freedom-seekers around the world who want vengeance for his blood, we will hit his enemy in a manly fashion,” he said.
Based on a doubtful “imminent threat” posed to the US, Soleimani’s assassination in an air strike in Baghdad on 3 January led to a retaliatory response by Iran in the form of missile strikes on US bases in Iraq, damaging the bases and reportedly injuring some American soldiers. The series of events pushed the US and Iran to the brink of war, the threat of which has apparently subsided following the Iranian strikes.
However the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has demanded that the US must withdraw from the region and vowed a “harsh revenge” in the aftermath of Soleimani’s death; the missile strikes were described as a mere “slap in the face”. The Quds Force is part of the 125,000-strong IRGC, which answers only to Khamenei.