Iran’s National Security Council has been called to an emergency meeting following the Thursday evening US attack on the Baghdad International Airport, which killed a number of people, including Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s Quds Force.
The council is likely to be debating a response as US officials both tout the attack and threaten further action. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif was deeply critical of the US attack, saying it was a “foolish escalation” and that the “US bears responsibility for all consequences of its rogue adventurism.”
Mohsen Rezaei, a leader in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps as well as the Secretary of the Expediency Discernment Council, also issued a statement vowing “vigorous revenge against America” for Soleimani’s death.
President Hassan Rouhani’s office issued a statement saying that the killing crossed a “red line.” He added the US now faces dangerous consequences.
Soleimani’s esteem within Iran cannot be understated. He was considered a close confident to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and the top ranking Iranian military official. His long history in military service has seen him celebrated within Iranian government, and credited as one of the top leaders against ISIS, al-Qaeda, and Jabhat al-Nusra.