The Iranian military marked the 40-day anniversary of the assassination of Major General Qassem Soleimani by rattling their saber and threatening both the United States and Israel.
Major General Hossein Salami, head of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) said that Iran is prepared to attack both the U.S.and Israel if either makes the “slightest error.”
Speaking on television, Salami said “If you make the slightest error, we will hit both of you,” at the ceremony honoring Soleimani. MG Soleimani was head of the Quds Force of the IRGC, which conducts operations outside of Iran. He was killed in a drone strike by the United States back on January 3 along with Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.
Soleimani’s plane had landed at Baghdad airport in Iraq and the U.S., after learning about his arrival, took him out with a drone strike as his small vehicular convoy was leaving the airport. Soleimani and the Quds Force have coordinated, trained, equipped, and led terrorist organizations and proxy militia groups around the globe. Soleimani was responsible for the deaths of over 600 Americans in Iraq.
Ramezan Sharif, the military spokesman for the Revolutionary Guards, stated that this incident last month will ultimately lead to the “liberation” of Jerusalem: “The cowardly and craven assassination of commander Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis by the Americans will lead to the liberation of Jerusalem, by the grace of God,” he said.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader, said last week that Iran would support Palestinian armed groups fighting against Israel and the U.S. as much as it could and urged Palestinians to confront the U.S. plan pitched by President Trump for Israeli-Palestinian peace.
Meanwhile, Mohsen Rezaee, an adviser to Khamenei, said that Iran was looking for any excuse to attack Israel.
“We would raze Tel Aviv to the ground for sure. We have been looking for such a pretext,” Rezaee said. “If they do something, we can use it as a pretext to attack Israel.” Iran continued to try to ratchet up feelings against the U.S. and especially Israel with more threats of military action.
Iran then aired an interview, on state-run television, with Lebanese Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah where he described how Soleimani’s role in military operations during the 2006 war with Israel and how he helped to build up Hezbollah’s arsenal of rockets. Hezbollah may be Lebanese but it takes its orders from Tehran and was created by the Revolutionary Guards in 1982.
While the Iranian government is rattling their sabers, the United States Congress is trying to garner bipartisan support to limit President Trump’s war powers when it comes to Iran. Led by Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), this legislation would ban the president from ordering any new offensive strikes against Iran. However, it would still allow the president to order strikes in cases of self-defense against an imminent attack. The legislation passed 55-45 with all Democrats and eight Republicans voting in favor of it. However, it failed to gather a two-thirds majority which would override a presidential veto.
“The resolution just says no war with Iran, unless you come and make that case to Congress. And if you make the case to Congress, in front of the American people, and we all have the discussion, ask the tough questions and conclude, sadly, it’s in the national interest, that’s one thing,” Kaine said in an interview. “But if we’re not even willing to have that discussion, we shouldn’t be forcing people to risk their lives.”
And as this was ongoing the U.S. Navy stopped a dhow, a traditional Middle Eastern sailing vessel, in the Arabian Sea on Sunday. They boarded the ship and found “150 ‘Dehlavieh’ anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM), which are Iranian-manufactured copies of Russian Kornet ATGMs,” the Navy released in a statement.
“Other weapons components seized aboard the dhow were of Iranian design and manufacture and included three Iranian surface-to-air missiles,” they added. Under a United Nations resolution, Iran is prohibited from supplying, selling or transferring weapons outside the country unless approved by the U.N. Security Council.