Iraqis chanting anti-US slogans mark year since Soleimani killing

‘America is the Great Satan’: Tens of thousands of Iraqis chanting anti-US slogans gather in Baghdad to protest killing of top Iranian General Qassem Soleimani a year ago

  • Tens of thousands of Iraqis chanting anti-American slogans gathered in Baghdad to mark the anniversary of the US killing of Qassem Soleimani 
  • It comes amid escalating tensions between Iran and the US in Trump’s final days in the White House
  • Soleimani, leader of an elite overseas unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, was killed on January 3, 2020, in a U.S. drone strike on his convoy at Baghdad airport
  • Washington had accused Soleimani of masterminding attacks on US forces 

Tens of thousands of Iraqis chanting anti-American slogans streamed to Baghdad’s central square on Sunday to mark the anniversary of the U.S. killing of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

The gathering coincided with increasing tensions between Iran and the United States in the last days of President Donald Trump’s administration, and many in the crowd demanded revenge.

Soleimani, leader of an elite overseas unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, was killed on January 3, 2020, in a U.S. drone strike on his convoy at Baghdad airport, an attack that took U.S.-Iranian hostilities into uncharted waters and stoked concern about a major conflagration.

Washington had accused Soleimani of masterminding attacks by Iranian-aligned militias on U.S. forces in the region.

Demonstrators gathering at Tahrir square Sunday in response to calls by an assortment of militia groups known collectively as the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), which are mostly backed and trained by Iran, waved the Iraqi flag and chanted anti-American slogans such as ‘America is the Great Satan’. 

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Iraqis, including supporters of Hashid Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces), hold placards and flags as they gather to mark the one year anniversary of the killing of senior Iranian military commander General Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis

Qassem Soleimani (pictured in the above poster), leader of an elite overseas unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, was killed on January 3, 2020, in a U.S. drone strike

Tens of thousands of Iraqis chanting anti-American slogans streamed to Baghdad’s central square on Sunday (Pictured: A supporter of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of the Popular Mobilization Forces, holds a photo of him during a protest in Tahrir Square)

It comes amid escalating tensions between Iran and the US in Trump’s final days in the White House

Washington had accused Soleimani of masterminding attacks by Iranian-aligned militias on U.S. forces in the region

Soleimani and Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis were killed in the strike

Reflecting continuing regional strains, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Saturday urged Trump not to be ‘trapped’ by an alleged Israeli plan to provoke a war through attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq.

Zarif said that intelligence from Iraq indicated ‘Israeli agent-provocateurs’ were plotting attacks against Americans.

‘Be careful of a trap, @realDonaldTrump,’ Zarif wrote. ‘Any fireworks will backfire badly, particularly against your same BFFs [Israel]’.  

An Israeli official dismissed the accusation as ‘nonsense’ and said it was Israel that needed to be on alert for possible Iranian strikes on the anniversary of Soleimani’s death.

The head of Iran’s judiciary, Ebrahim Raisi, also appeared to threaten Trump himself Saturday, saying all those who had a role in the killing of Soleimani last year will not be able to ‘escape law and justice,’ even if they were an American president. 

‘They will witness severe revenge,’ Raisi told the gathering at Tehran University, referring to Trump and US military leaders.

‘What has come so far has only been glimpses.’

‘Do not presume that someone, as the president of America, who appeared as a murderer or ordered a murder, may be immune from justice being carried out. Never,’ Raisi said.

‘Those who had a role in this assassination and crime will not be safe on Earth.’

The United States blames Iran-backed militias for regular rocket attacks on U.S. facilities in Iraq, including near the U.S. embassy. No known Iran-backed groups have claimed responsibility.

The U.S. military flew two nuclear-capable B-52 bombers to the Middle East in a message of deterrence to Iran last week, but the bombers have since left the region.


Iran’s Foreign Minister has sent out a menacing message to US President Donald Trump warning him not to take military action against Tehran amid increasing tension between the two nations

Zarif posited that Israel – Iran’s arch-enemy and the United State’s closest Middle Eastern ally – may try to kill US soldiers and make it look like an Iranian attack in order to provoke Trump to take on Tehran

On Sunday, Iran will mark  the first anniversary of the death of General Qassem Soleimani, who was assassinated in a US drone strike

A supporter of Soleimani attends Sunday’s protests with a face mask emblazoned with a portrait of the late general

Security forces stand guard while supporters of Popular Mobilization Forces protest, in Tahrir Square

One protester holds a sign urging the US to ‘Get Out’ from Iraq

Supporters of the Popular Mobilization Forces hold a posters of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of the Popular Mobilization Forces, front, and General Qassem Soleimani

On Saturday evening thousands of mourners gathered on the highway that leads to Baghdad airport, where Soleimani and Muhandis were killed, in a simulated funeral procession staged in tribute to the two men.

Posters of the general and al-Muhandis adorned both sides of the road leading to the airport and the scene of the bombing was turned into a shrine-like area sealed off by red ropes. 

A picture of Soleimani and al-Muhandis was placed in the middle, as mourners lit candles. 

Shrapnel marks from the blast that killed the pair were still visible on the asphalt and walls in the surrounding area.

The demonstrations were held less than 24 hours after Iran announced that it was planning to enrich uranium up to 20 percent at its underground Fordo nuclear facility ‘as soon as possible’. 

The step will push its nuclear program a technical step away from weapons-grade levels. 

The International Atomic Energy Agency released a statement confirming that Tehran had informed its ins[ectors of their decision, and added it ‘has inspectors present in Iran on a 24.7 basis and they have regular access to Fordo.’ 

The IAEA said Iran did not say when it planned to boost enrichment. 

On Saturday evening thousands of mourners gathered on the highway that leads to Baghdad airport, where Soleimani and Muhandis were killed, in a simulated funeral procession

Posters of the general and al-Muhandis adorned both sides of the road leading to the airport and the scene of the bombing was turned into a shrine-like area sealed off by red ropes

A picture of Soleimani and al-Muhandis was placed in the middle, as mourners lit candles

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