Hundred of thousands of protesters take to Iran’s city streets to denounce Soleimani’s killing

The streets of Tehran and other cities across the country were flooded with protesters early Friday morning.

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Image Credit: TAUSEEF MUSTAFA/AFP via Getty Images/Getty

Hundreds of thousands of Iranians took to the city streets not in celebration, but in condemnation of the assassination of military leader Qassem Soleimani. An airstrike ordered by Donald Trump and carried out on Thursday night killed Soleimani and “triggered a wave of emotions and garnered a response of solidarity and retribution across the otherwise divided Iranian political spectrum,” Al-Jazeera reported.

The airstrike that killed Soleimani happened as he and few officials from Iran-backed militias were leaving Baghdad airport in two cars when a U.S. drone strike near the cargo area hit them. According to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, 10 people were killed, including five of its members and Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

While the streets of Tehran and other cities across the country were flooded with protesters early Friday morning over the military leader’s assassination, the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo instead said he believed Iranians were celebrating the attack.

“We have every expectation that people not only in Iraq but in Iran will view the American action last night as giving them freedom,” Pompeo said on CNN. “Freedom to have the opportunity for success and prosperity for their nations. While the political leadership may not want that, the people in these nations will demand it.”

Yet, Iranian leaders called the assassination “an act of terrorism and vowed retaliatory action against the United States,” Common Dreams reported.

“The U.S. bears responsibility for all consequences of its rogue adventurism,” Javad Zarif, Iranian Foreign Minister, said in a tweet.

But the Trump administration believes its action was to stop, not start, a war. Now, Soleimani’s assassination “marks a major escalation in tensions,” the BBC reported.

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