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Iran's Revolutionary Guards Chief Threatens To 'Set Ablaze' U.S.-Backed Locations

Iranian mourners gather for the burial of slain top general Qasem Soleimani in his hometown Kerman on January 7.
Iranian mourners gather for the burial of slain top general Qasem Soleimani in his hometown Kerman on January 7.

The top commander of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has threatened to "set ablaze" unspecified locations supported by the United States over the killing of a top Iranian general in a U.S. air strike last week.

Major General Hossein Salami delivered the threat on January 7 before thousands of people gathered in a central square in Kerman for the funeral of the slain General Qasem Soleimani.

Mourners in Kerman -- Soleimani's hometown -- were dressed in black and carried posters bearing images of Soleimani.

The January 3 assassination of the 62-year-old general, who helped orchestrate Tehran's overseas clandestine and military operations, has taken already tense U.S.-Iranian relations into uncharted territory.

"We will take revenge. We will set ablaze where they like," Salami said, drawing cries of "Death to Israel!"

Israel is a longtime regional foe of Iran.

On January 6, Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, wept over Soleimani's casket as a crowd said by Iranian police to be in the millions filled the streets of the capital, Tehran.

Soleimani Mourned As Tehran, Washington Trade Threats
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There was no independent estimate of the actual turnout of people in Tehran.

Authorities later on January 6 brought Soleimani's remains and those of the others killed in the air strike to Iran's holy city of Qom, where another massive crowd turned out.

Washington blames Soleimani for the killing of U.S. troops in Iraq and accused him of plotting new attacks just before his death last week in a drone strike near Baghdad's airport.

Soleimani also led forces in Syria backing President Bashar al-Assad in a long war, and he also served as the point man for Iranian proxies in countries like Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen.

Iran's parliament, meanwhile, passed a piece of legislation labeling the U.S. military's command at the Pentagon in Washington and those acting on its behalf "terrorists," subject to Iranian sanctions. The measure appears to mirror a decision by U.S. President Donald Trump in April to declare the IRGC a "terrorist organization."

At the same time, the United States has refused to issue a visa to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif that would have enabled him to attend a UN Security Council meeting on January 9 in New York, Reuters reported, citing a U.S. official on condition of anonymity.

With reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters
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