Iranian President Hassan Rouhani declared that President Donald Trump will be dead ”in a few days” during a speech to his Islamic nation’s cabinet as the first anniversary of the killing of a general in the country’s military approached.
Rouhani’s Wednesday speech, excerpts of which were posted in English on the Iranian presidential website, called Qasem Soleimani a ”martyr” and ”moderate leader with tact.”
Soleimani, the leader of Iran’s Quds Force — described by military specialists as an unconventional war and clandestine operations unit — was killed in a targeted drone strike on Jan. 3, 2020, that was approved by Trump.
The U.S. Department of Defense blamed Soleimani for hundreds of deaths and injuries to Americans; he was purportedly killed while in neighboring Iraq while ”actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region.”
Besides Trump, Rouhani referred to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as the ”main perpetrators of this crime.”
“One of the effects of this stupid and disgraceful act was that Trumpism ended and in a few days, the life of this criminal will end and he will go to the dustbin of history, and we are very happy about this and we believe that the period after Trump will be a better condition for regional and global stability,” Rouhani said.
The remarks come as tensions have intensified approaching the anniversary of Soleimani’s death; his successor has vowed vengeance, and the U.S. has flown B-52s over the region in an act of deterrence.
Among other signs of escalation:
- Iran has told the United Nations nuclear watchdog it plans to enrich uranium to 20% purity, a level it achieved before a 2015 nuclear accord, at its Fordow site buried inside a mountain, the agency said on Friday. The move is the latest of several recent announcements Iran has delivered to the International Atomic Energy Agency pointing to plans to breach the deal, which it started violating in 2019 in retaliation for the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the agreement and reimposition of sanctions.
- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Thursday accused Trump of attempting to fabricate a pretext to attack Iran, and said Tehran would defend itself forcefully. The bomber flights appeared to have been a trigger for his tough remarks.
- The Pentagon announced on Thursday that the Nimitz aircraft carrier, which was off the coast of Somalia, would be heading back to its home port. It has previously operated in the Middle East. The move was seen by some U.S. officials as an attempt to reduce tensions in the region.
- Washington has also been blaming Iran-backed militia for regular rocket attacks on U.S. facilities in Iraq, including near the embassy. No known Iran-backed groups have claimed responsibility.
Meanwhile, Iran is continuing preparations for events marking the anniversary of Soleimani’s killing this Sunday.