Photos: Throngs mourn, Iranian leader weeps for general slain by US
TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s supreme leader wept Monday over the casket of a top general killed in a U.S. airstrike in Baghdad, his prayers joining the wails of mourners who flooded the streets of Tehran demanding retaliation against America for a slaying that’s drastically raised tensions across the Middle East.
The funeral for Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani drew a crowd — aerial footage and Associated Press journalists suggested a turnout of at least 1 million.
It was an unprecedented honor for a man viewed by Iranians as a national hero for his work leading the Guard’s expeditionary Quds Force. The U.S. blames him for the killing of American troops in Iraq and accused him of plotting new attacks just before his death Friday. Soleimani also led forces in Syria backing President Bashar Assad in a long war.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei prayed over the caskets of Soleimani and others at Tehran University after a brief mourning period at the capital’s famed Musalla mosque, Khamenei, who had a close relationship with Soleimani and referred to him as a “living martyr,” broke down four times in tears while offering traditional Muslim prayers for the dead.
Soleimani’s death has brought together people from across the country’s political spectrum, temporarily silencing that anger. Demonstrators burned Israeli and U.S. flags, carried a flag-draped U.S. coffin or displayed effigies of Trump. Some described Trump himself as a legitimate target.