June 20, 2021

Soleimani: Iranians flock to hometown for commander’s burial

Huge numbers of black-clad mourners have turned out to pay their final respects to Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani ahead of his burial.

Iranians estimated in their millions have already turned out in recent days for his funeral procession.

His body has now arrived in his hometown of Kerman, where he is being buried on Tuesday morning.

Soleimani was assassinated in a US drone strike in Iraq on Friday, on the orders of President Donald Trump.

In pictures: Tehran mourns Qasem Soleimani
Trump under fire for threat to Iran cultural sites
Voices from Iran: ‘Soleimani did not deserve such a fate’
The killing brought fears that long-standing tensions between the US and Iran could spiral into conflict.

Soleimani was widely considered the second most powerful man in the Iran behind Supreme Leader Khamenei. The US saw him as a terrorist.

In other developments:

The US has reportedly denied a visa for Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to visit the UN in New York later this week. Such a move would apparently breach an agreement guaranteeing foreign officials access to the UN headquarters
Germany is withdrawing a small number of soldiers stationed in Iraq as part of the coalition fighting Islamic State
The US denied it was pulling out of Iraq, after a letter from a US general suggested there would be a withdrawal
Iranian parliamentarians have approved a motion designating the US Army and the Pentagon as terrorist organisations, Iran’s Tasnim news agency reports
In Kerman, south-eastern Iran, vast numbers of people were again seen in the streets with Soleimani’s body due to be buried shortly.

“He was seen as a great man who was ready to serve his people… He must certainly be avenged,” an 18-year-old student who was there told the AFP news agency.

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