Top Iranian officials have kicked off the new year by suggesting that they may attempt to assassinate President Donald Trump after he leaves office in retaliation for U.S. forces killing Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qods Force (IRGC-QF), a U.S.-designated terrorist organization, last year.
Videos of the remarks by Ebrahim Raisi, head of Iran’s judiciary, and IRGC General Esmail Qaani, commander of the Qods Force, were posted online and translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), which tracks Islamic extremism, anti-Semitism and anti-American sentiment around the world.
Raisi specifically suggested that Iranian “hard revenge” included targeting “the U.S. president,” saying that those involved “will [not] be safe anywhere on the globe.”
“The (Americans) should wait for the hard revenge,” Raisi said on January 1. “The beloved resistance forces will determine the place and the time. The Islamic nation knows at what point in time and where this revenge will be exacted. The enemy should know that its life will be very difficult from now on. The resistance movement will make the enemy’s life much more difficult, in revenge for the blood of the martyr Soleimani. One of the aspects of the hard revenge will be driving the Americans out of the region.”
“Punishing those who gave the order and those who committed the crime is another aspect of this hard revenge,” Raisi continued. “I am addressing the enemy. Let no one think that if someone holds the position of the U.S. President, yet he commits or orders a murder, he will be immune to the enforcement of law and justice and will remain on the sidelines. Never! Those who played a role in this assassination, in this crime, none of them will be safe anywhere on the globe. This is final. The steel willpower of the resistance movement will exact hard revenge from them.”
Head of Iranian Judiciary Ebrahim Raisi: The Culprits Behind the Assassination of Soleimani Will Not Be Safe Anywhere on the Globe, Even the President of the U.S. Is Not Immune to Iranian Justice pic.twitter.com/0MsLCaa48S
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) January 4, 2021
Qaani gave similar remarks, saying that those who were involved would not be safe anywhere and that Iran may find assassins to carry out attacks “even inside your own house.”
“Those who committed this crime should know: They have done something that will (bring rise) to a man, somewhere in the world, who will repay those non-men in kind,” he said. “By perpetrating this crime, you have created work for all the free people in the world. Rest assured that even inside your own house, people may by found that will repay you in kind for your crime.”
Qods Force Commander IRGC General Esmail Qaani Warns Those Who “Committed the Crime” of Assassinating Soleimani: Even in Your Own Home, Someone May “Repay You In Kind” pic.twitter.com/gMMvwABL6a
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) January 4, 2021
Following the U.S. airstrike that terminated Soleimani, the U.S. State Department released the following fact-sheet on him:
- Since 1998, Qassem Soleimani commanded Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qods Force (IRGC-QF), the terror arm of the Iranian regime. The IRGC-QF is tasked with planning and executing terror and military operations outside Iran’s borders. Under Soleimani’s command, the IRGC-QF has fueled destabilizing sectarian conflicts throughout the Middle East for decades.
- The IRGC-QF continues to wage an illegal campaign of terrorism, assassinations, and violence. At Soleimani’s direction and with his oversight and guidance, the IRGC-QF has planned and conducted terrorist attacks across six continents and inside the United States.
- The United States designated IRGC-QF a Foreign Terrorist Organization for its activities, and the United States designated Soleimani as a Specially-Designated Global Terrorist.
- As the leader of the IRGC-QF, Qassem Soleimani was directly responsible for arming, funding, and training proxy groups in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Bahrain, Yemen, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. Operations carried out by these proxy groups have led to the death and suffering of tens of thousands, including many hundreds of Americans. These proxies routinely target and kill civilians, intensify sectarian conflicts, and prolong the suffering of innocent men, women, and children.
- Soleimani personally directed and provided arms to militias in Iraq for more than a decade. These militias undermine the sovereignty of the Iraqi state, threaten the legitimacy of Iraq’s security forces, and target American citizens and forces. With Soleimani’s support and lethal assistance, proxies of the IRGC-QF targeted and killed over 600 Americans between 2003 and 2011.
- We can confirm that in the past several days, General Soleimani had been traveling in the Middle East coordinating further imminent large-scale attacks against U.S. diplomats and service members. These threats were highly credible and the intelligence is sound. General Soleimani’s travel also violated the ban imposed by the United Nations Security Council.
- Recent orders given by General Soleimani dramatically escalated Iran’s campaign of violence and terrorism against Americans and American interests in the Middle East. He orchestrated a series of attacks against American forces in Iraq in the past several months, culminating in the rocket attack on December 27, 2019, which resulted in the death of an American citizen, wounded four American service members, and threatened the lives of many more American personnel. General Soleimani also ordered the assault on the American Embassy in Baghdad. General Soleimani continued to command Iranian supported proxies in Iraq, which posed an escalating threat to the lives of Americans.
- For his actions, Soleimani had been designated and sanctioned by the United Nations, European Union, and United States and is banned from international travel by United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231. In defiance of United Nations Security Council resolutions, however, Soleimani continued to travel to Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon directing and coordinating lethal actions that pose a threat to regional peace and security.
- Some key international and United States designations of Soleimani include:
- Designated a Tier I terrorist as part of the Department of State designation of the IRGC as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in 2019.
- Designated under U.S. Executive Order 13224 as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist in 2011.
- Designated under U.S. EO 13572 for human rights abuses in 2011.
- Designated under U.S. EO 13882 for providing material support to terrorists in 2007.
- Sanctioned by the United Nations under UNSCR 1747 for involvement in Iran’s nuclear program in 2007.
- Designated by the European Union in EU 442/2011 for support to the Syrian regime in 2011.