US warns Iran after fresh threats from IRGC against Trump, Pompeo over Soleimani

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The US issued a warning to Iran on Saturday, saying that it would respond to any attacks by the country after a top Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander said that Tehran was seeking to kill former US officials, including former President Donald Trump, for their role in the 2020 killing of Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani.

General Amirali Hajizadeh, who heads the IRGC’s aerospace unit, made the comments on state television late on Friday while discussing Iran’s missile attack on the Ain al-Assad air base, which hosts American troops in western Iraq, five days after Soleimani’s killing on January 3, 2020.

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“God willing, we will be able to kill Trump… [former secretary of state Mike] Pompeo, [former head of US Central Command General Kenneth] McKenzie and those military commanders who gave the order” to kill Soleimani, he said.

In an emailed statement to Al Arabiya English, the State Department warned Iran that any attempt to harm US citizens, including those who served in the past, would be met with a strong response.

“Iran would test our resolve to protect our citizens at great peril. As the Administration has consistently made clear, the United States will protect and defend its citizens. This includes those serving the United States now and those who served in the past,” a State Department spokesperson said.

The State Department spokesperson also reiterated the US’ commitment to working with its allies and partners to deter and respond to any attacks carried out by Iran, and to hold the IRGC accountable for its “malign activities.”

Soleimani, who led the Quds Force, the overseas arm of the IRGC, was killed in a US airstrike in Iraq ordered by Trump.

Iranian officials have repeatedly pledged to avenge Soleimani’s death, as the attack on Ain al-Assad was seen as insufficient retaliation. No US troops were killed in that attack.

Last month, President Ebrahim Raisi, speaking on the third anniversary of Soleimani’s killing, said that revenge for Soleimani was “certain.”

In November, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said Iran would “never forget” the killing of Soleimani, adding that Tehran remained committed to avenging his death.

Tensions between Iran and the West have increased in recent months, particularly over Tehran’s supply of arms for Russia’s war in Ukraine, its nuclear activity, and its violent crackdown on domestic protests.

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