Iran will respond to Soleimani killing 'any time, in any manner': Foreign Minister Zarif

Reuters Tehran, Iran Jan 04, 2020, 09.44 AM(IST)

Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif (File photo) Photograph:( Reuters )

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Soleimani, a 62-year-old general who headed the overseas arm of the Revolutionary Guards, was regarded as the second most powerful figure in Iran after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Iran will respond to the United States killing of Iranian Quds force chief Qassem Soleimani "any time and in any manner", Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Friday (January 3).

Soleimani, a 62-year-old general who headed the overseas arm of the Revolutionary Guards, was regarded as the second most powerful figure in Iran after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Also read: Who is Qasem Soleimani?

The commander was killed in an overnight air strike on a car convoy near Baghdad International Airport.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the strike aimed to disrupt an "imminent attack" that would have endangered Americans in the Middle East. Democratic critics called the Republican president reckless and said he had raised the risk of more violence in a dangerous region.

Speaking on State TV, Zarif said "we will not be involved in the US' smear campaigns and their blackmailing. We will give a proper response in any manner and time, we will, as stated by the Supreme Leader."

Khamenei earlier said harsh revenge awaited the "criminals" who killed Soleimani and his death would redouble resistance against the United States and Israel. He called for three days of national mourning.