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Westlake Legal Group > Khamenei, Ali

Anatomy of a Lie: How Iran Covered Up the Downing of an Airliner

Westlake Legal Group 00iran-plane11-facebookJumbo Anatomy of a Lie: How Iran Covered Up the Downing of an Airliner Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 Suleimani, Qassim Rouhani, Hassan Politics and Government Missiles and Missile Defense Systems Khamenei, Ali Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Iran Defense and Military Forces Aviation Accidents, Safety and Disasters

When the Revolutionary Guards officer spotted what he thought was an unidentified aircraft near Tehran’s international airport, he had seconds to decide whether to pull the trigger.

Iran had just fired a barrage of ballistic missiles at American forces, the country was on high alert for an American counterattack, and the Iranian military was warning of incoming cruise missiles.

The officer tried to reach the command center for authorization to shoot but couldn’t get through. So he fired an antiaircraft missile. Then another.

The plane, which turned out to be a Ukrainian jetliner with 176 people on board, crashed and exploded in a ball of fire.

Within minutes, the top commanders of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards realized what they had done. And at that moment, they began to cover it up.

For days, they refused to tell even President Hassan Rouhani, whose government was publicly denying that the plane had been shot down. When they finally told him, he gave them an ultimatum: come clean or he would resign.

Only then, 72 hours after the plane crashed, did Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, step in and order the government to acknowledge its fatal mistake.

The New York Times pieced together a chronology of those three days by interviewing Iranian diplomats, current and former government officials, ranking members of the Revolutionary Guards and people close to the supreme leader’s inner circle and by examining official public statements and state media reports.

The reporting exposes the government’s behind-the-scenes debate over covering up Iran’s responsibility for the crash while shocked Iranians, grieving relatives and countries with citizens aboard the plane waited for the truth.

The new details also demonstrate the outsize power of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, which effectively sidelined the elected government in a moment of national crisis, and could deepen what many Iranians already see as a crisis of legitimacy for the Guards and the government.

The bitter divisions in Iran’s government persist and are bound to affect the investigation into the crash, negotiations over compensation and the unresolved debate over accountability.

Around midnight on Jan. 7, as Iran was preparing to launch a ballistic-missile attack on American military posts in Iraq, senior members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps deployed mobile antiaircraft defense units around a sensitive military area near Tehran’s Imam Khomeini Airport.

Iran was about to retaliate for the American drone strike that had killed Iran’s top military commander, Gen. Qassim Suleimani, in Baghdad five days earlier, and the military was bracing for an American counterstrike. The armed forces were on “at war” status, the highest alert level.

But in a tragic miscalculation, the government continued to allow civilian commercial flights to land and take off from the Tehran airport.

Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the Guards’ Aerospace Force, said later that his units had asked officials in Tehran to close Iran’s airspace and ground all flights, to no avail.

Iranian officials feared that shutting down the airport would create mass panic that war with the United States was imminent, members of the Guards and other officials told The Times. They also hoped that the presence of passenger jets could act as a deterrent against an American attack on the airport or the nearby military base, effectively turning planeloads of unsuspecting travelers into human shields.

After Iran’s missile attack began, the central air defense command issued an alert that American warplanes had taken off from the United Arab Emirates and that cruise missiles were headed toward Iran.

The officer on the missile launcher near the airport heard the warnings but did not hear a later message that the cruise missile alert was a false alarm.

The warning about American warplanes may have also been wrong. United States military officials have said that no American planes were in or near Iranian airspace that night.

When the officer spotted the Ukrainian jet, he sought permission to fire. But he was unable to communicate with his commanders because the network had been disrupted or jammed, General Hajizadeh said later.

The officer, who has not been publicly identified, fired two missiles, less than 30 seconds apart.

General Hajizadeh, who was in western Iran supervising the attack on the Americans, received a phone call with the news.

“I called the officials and told them this has happened and it’s highly possible we hit our own plane,” he said later in a televised statement.

By the time General Hajizadeh arrived in Tehran, he had informed Iran’s top three military commanders: Maj. Gen. Abdolrahim Mousavi, the army’s commander in chief, who is also the chief of the central air defense command; Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri, chief of staff of the Armed Forces; and Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami, commander in chief of the Revolutionary Guards.

The Revolutionary Guards, an elite force charged with defending Iran’s clerical rule at home and abroad, is separate from the regular army and answers only to the supreme leader. At this point, the leaders of both militaries knew the truth.

General Hajizadeh advised the generals not to tell the rank-and-file air defense units for fear that it could hamper their ability to react quickly if the United States did attack.

“It was for the benefit of our national security because then our air defense system would be compromised,” Mr. Hajizadeh said in an interview with Iranian news media this week. “The ranks would be suspicious of everything.”

The military leaders created a secret investigative committee drawn from the Guards’ aerospace forces, from the army’s air defense, and from intelligence and cyberexperts. The committee and the officers involved in the shooting were sequestered and ordered not to speak to anyone.

The committee examined data from the airport, the flight path, radar networks, and alerts and messages from the missile operator and central command. Witnesses — the officer who had pulled the trigger, his supervisors and everyone involved — were interrogated for hours.

The group also investigated the possibility that the United States or Israel may have hacked Iran’s defense system or jammed the airwaves.

By Wednesday night, the committee had concluded that the plane was shot down because of human error.

“We were not confident about what happened until Wednesday around sunset,” General Salami, the commander in chief of the Guards, said later in a televised address to the Parliament. “Our investigative team concluded then that the plane crashed because of human errors.”

Ayatollah Khamenei was informed. But they still did not inform the president, other elected officials or the public.

Senior commanders discussed keeping the shooting secret until the plane’s black boxes — the flight data and cockpit voice recorders — were examined and formal aviation investigations completed, according to members of the Guards, diplomats and officials with knowledge of the deliberations. That process could take months, they argued, and it would buy time to manage the domestic and international fallout that would ensue when the truth came out.

The government had violently crushed an anti-government uprising in November. But the American killing of General Suleimani, followed by the strikes against the United States, had turned public opinion around. Iranians were galvanized in a moment of national unity.

The authorities feared that admitting to shooting down the passenger plane would undercut that momentum and prompt a new wave of anti-government protests.

“They advocated covering it up because they thought the country couldn’t handle more crisis,” said a ranking member of the Guards who, like others interviewed for this article, spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. “At the end, safeguarding the Islamic Republic is our ultimate goal, at any cost.”

That evening, the spokesman for the Joint Armed Forces, Brig. Gen. Abolfazl Shekarchi, told Iranian news media that suggestions that missiles struck the plane were “an absolute lie.”

On Thursday, as Ukrainian investigators began to arrive in Tehran, Western officials were saying publicly that they had evidence that Iran had accidentally shot down the plane.

A chorus of senior Iranian officials — from the director of civil aviation to the chief government spokesman — issued statement after statement rejecting the allegations, their claims amplified on state media.

The suggestion that Iran would shoot down a passenger plane was a “Western plot,” they said, “psychological warfare” aimed at weakening Iran just as it had exercised its military muscle against the United States.

But in private, government officials were alarmed and questioning whether there was any truth to the Western claims. Mr. Rouhani, a seasoned military strategist himself, and his foreign minister, Javad Zarif, deflected phone calls from world leaders and foreign ministers seeking answers. Ignorant of what their own military had done, they had none to give.

Domestically, public pressure was building for the government to address the allegations.

Among the plane’s passengers were some of Iran’s best and brightest. They included prominent scientists and physicians, dozens of Iran’s top young scholars and graduates of elite universities, and six gold and silver medal winners of international physics and math Olympiads.

There were two newlywed couples who had traveled from Canada to Tehran for their weddings just days earlier. There were families and young children.

Their relatives demanded answers. Iranian social media began to explode with emotional commentary, some accusing Iran of murdering its own citizens and others calling such allegations treason.

Persian-language satellite channels operating from abroad, the main source of news for most Iranians, broadcast blanket coverage of the crash, including reports from Western governments that Iran had shot down the plane.

Mr. Rouhani tried several times to call military commanders, officials said, but they did not return his calls. Members of his government called their contacts in the military and were told the allegations were false. Iran’s civil aviation agency called military officials with similar results.

“Thursday was frantic,” Ali Rabiei, the government spokesman, said later in a news conference. “The government made back-to-back phone calls and contacted the armed forces asking what happened, and the answer to all the questions was that no missile had been fired.”

On Friday morning, Mr. Rabiei issued a statement saying the allegation that Iran had shot down the plane was “a big lie.”

Several hours later, the nation’s top military commanders called a private meeting and told Mr. Rouhani the truth.

Mr. Rouhani was livid, according to officials close to him. He demanded that Iran immediately announce that it had made a tragic mistake and accept the consequences.

The military officials pushed back, arguing that the fallout could destabilize the country.

Mr. Rouhani threatened to resign.

Canada, which had the most foreign citizens on board the plane, and the United States, which as Boeing’s home country was invited to investigate the crash, would eventually reveal their evidence, Mr. Rouhani said. The damage to Iran’s reputation and the public trust in the government would create an enormous crisis at a time when Iran could not bear more pressure.

As the standoff escalated, a member of Ayatollah Khamenei’s inner circle who was in the meeting informed the supreme leader. The ayatollah sent a message back to the group, ordering the government to prepare a public statement acknowledging what had happened.

Mr. Rouhani briefed a few senior members of his government. They were rattled.

Mr. Rabiei, the government spokesman who had issued a denial just that morning, broke down. Abbas Abdi, a prominent critic of Iran’s clerical establishment, said that when he spoke to Mr. Rabiei that evening, Mr. Rabiei was distraught and crying.

“Everything is a lie,” Mr. Rabiei said, according to Mr. Abdi. “The whole thing is a lie. What should I do? My honor is gone.”

Mr. Abdi said the government’s actions had gone “far beyond” just a lie.

“There was a systematic cover-up at the highest levels that makes it impossible to get out of this crisis,” he said.

Iran’s National Security Council held an emergency meeting and drafted two statements, the first to be issued by the Joint Armed Forces followed by a second one from Mr. Rouhani.

As they debated the wording, some suggested claiming that the United States or Israel may have contributed to the accident by jamming Iran’s radars or hacking its communications networks.

But the military commanders opposed it. General Hajizadeh said the shame of human error paled compared with admitting his air defense system was vulnerable to hacking by the enemy.

Iran’s Civil Aviation Agency later said that it had found no evidence of jamming or hacking.

At 7 a.m., the military released a statement admitting that Iran had shot down the plane because of “human error.”

The bombshell revelation has not ended the division within the government. The Revolutionary Guards want to pin the blame on those involved in firing the missiles and be done with it, officials said. The missile operator and up to 10 others have been arrested but officials have not identified them or said whether they had been charged.

Mr. Rouhani has demanded a broader accounting, including an investigation of the entire chain of command. The Guards’ accepting responsibility, he said, is “the first step and needs to be completed with other steps.” His spokesman and lawmakers have demanded to know why Mr. Rouhani was not immediately informed.

Mr. Rouhani touched on that concern when he put out his statement an hour and 15 minutes later. The first line said that he had found out about the investigative committee’s conclusion about cause of the crash “a few hours ago.”

It was a stunning admission, an acknowledgment that even the nation’s highest elected official had been shut out from the truth, and that as Iranians, and the world, turned to the government for answers, it had peddled lies.

“What we thought was news was a lie. What we thought was a lie was news,” said Hesamedin Ashna, Mr. Rouhani’s top adviser, on Twitter. “Why? Why? Beware of cover-ups and military rule.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Anatomy of a Lie: How Iran Covered Up the Downing of an Airliner

Westlake Legal Group 00iran-plane11-facebookJumbo Anatomy of a Lie: How Iran Covered Up the Downing of an Airliner Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 Suleimani, Qassim Rouhani, Hassan Politics and Government Missiles and Missile Defense Systems Khamenei, Ali Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Iran Defense and Military Forces Aviation Accidents, Safety and Disasters

When the Revolutionary Guards officer spotted what he thought was an unidentified aircraft near Tehran’s international airport, he had seconds to decide whether to pull the trigger.

Iran had just fired a barrage of ballistic missiles at American forces, the country was on high alert for an American counterattack, and the Iranian military was warning of incoming cruise missiles.

The officer tried to reach the command center for authorization to shoot but couldn’t get through. So he fired an antiaircraft missile. Then another.

The plane, which turned out to be a Ukrainian jetliner with 176 people on board, crashed and exploded in a ball of fire.

Within minutes, the top commanders of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards realized what they had done. And at that moment, they began to cover it up.

For days, they refused to tell even President Hassan Rouhani, whose government was publicly denying that the plane had been shot down. When they finally told him, he gave them an ultimatum: come clean or he would resign.

Only then, 72 hours after the plane crashed, did Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, step in and order the government to acknowledge its fatal mistake.

The New York Times pieced together a chronology of those three days by interviewing Iranian diplomats, current and former government officials, ranking members of the Revolutionary Guards and people close to the supreme leader’s inner circle and by examining official public statements and state media reports.

The reporting exposes the government’s behind-the-scenes debate over covering up Iran’s responsibility for the crash while shocked Iranians, grieving relatives and countries with citizens aboard the plane waited for the truth.

The new details also demonstrate the outsize power of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, which effectively sidelined the elected government in a moment of national crisis, and could deepen what many Iranians already see as a crisis of legitimacy for the Guards and the government.

The bitter divisions in Iran’s government persist and are bound to affect the investigation into the crash, negotiations over compensation and the unresolved debate over accountability.

Around midnight on Jan. 7, as Iran was preparing to launch a ballistic-missile attack on American military posts in Iraq, senior members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps deployed mobile antiaircraft defense units around a sensitive military area near Tehran’s Imam Khomeini Airport.

Iran was about to retaliate for the American drone strike that had killed Iran’s top military commander, Gen. Qassim Suleimani, in Baghdad five days earlier, and the military was bracing for an American counterstrike. The armed forces were on “at war” status, the highest alert level.

But in a tragic miscalculation, the government continued to allow civilian commercial flights to land and take off from the Tehran airport.

Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the Guards’ Aerospace Force, said later that his units had asked officials in Tehran to close Iran’s airspace and ground all flights, to no avail.

Iranian officials feared that shutting down the airport would create mass panic that war with the United States was imminent, members of the Guards and other officials told The Times. They also hoped that the presence of passenger jets could act as a deterrent against an American attack on the airport or the nearby military base, effectively turning planeloads of unsuspecting travelers into human shields.

After Iran’s missile attack began, the central air defense command issued an alert that American warplanes had taken off from the United Arab Emirates and that cruise missiles were headed toward Iran.

The officer on the missile launcher near the airport heard the warnings but did not hear a later message that the cruise missile alert was a false alarm.

The warning about American warplanes may have also been wrong. United States military officials have said that no American planes were in or near Iranian airspace that night.

When the officer spotted the Ukrainian jet, he sought permission to fire. But he was unable to communicate with his commanders because the network had been disrupted or jammed, General Hajizadeh said later.

The officer, who has not been publicly identified, fired two missiles, less than 30 seconds apart.

General Hajizadeh, who was in western Iran supervising the attack on the Americans, received a phone call with the news.

“I called the officials and told them this has happened and it’s highly possible we hit our own plane,” he said later in a televised statement.

By the time General Hajizadeh arrived in Tehran, he had informed Iran’s top three military commanders: Maj. Gen. Abdolrahim Mousavi, the army’s commander in chief, who is also the chief of the central air defense command; Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri, chief of staff of the Armed Forces; and Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami, commander in chief of the Revolutionary Guards.

The Revolutionary Guards, an elite force charged with defending Iran’s clerical rule at home and abroad, is separate from the regular army and answers only to the supreme leader. At this point, the leaders of both militaries knew the truth.

General Hajizadeh advised the generals not to tell the rank-and-file air defense units for fear that it could hamper their ability to react quickly if the United States did attack.

“It was for the benefit of our national security because then our air defense system would be compromised,” Mr. Hajizadeh said in an interview with Iranian news media this week. “The ranks would be suspicious of everything.”

The military leaders created a secret investigative committee drawn from the Guards’ aerospace forces, from the army’s air defense, and from intelligence and cyberexperts. The committee and the officers involved in the shooting were sequestered and ordered not to speak to anyone.

The committee examined data from the airport, the flight path, radar networks, and alerts and messages from the missile operator and central command. Witnesses — the officer who had pulled the trigger, his supervisors and everyone involved — were interrogated for hours.

The group also investigated the possibility that the United States or Israel may have hacked Iran’s defense system or jammed the airwaves.

By Wednesday night, the committee had concluded that the plane was shot down because of human error.

“We were not confident about what happened until Wednesday around sunset,” General Salami, the commander in chief of the Guards, said later in a televised address to the Parliament. “Our investigative team concluded then that the plane crashed because of human errors.”

Ayatollah Khamenei was informed. But they still did not inform the president, other elected officials or the public.

Senior commanders discussed keeping the shooting secret until the plane’s black boxes — the flight data and cockpit voice recorders — were examined and formal aviation investigations completed, according to members of the Guards, diplomats and officials with knowledge of the deliberations. That process could take months, they argued, and it would buy time to manage the domestic and international fallout that would ensue when the truth came out.

The government had violently crushed an anti-government uprising in November. But the American killing of General Suleimani, followed by the strikes against the United States, had turned public opinion around. Iranians were galvanized in a moment of national unity.

The authorities feared that admitting to shooting down the passenger plane would undercut that momentum and prompt a new wave of anti-government protests.

“They advocated covering it up because they thought the country couldn’t handle more crisis,” said a ranking member of the Guards who, like others interviewed for this article, spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. “At the end, safeguarding the Islamic Republic is our ultimate goal, at any cost.”

That evening, the spokesman for the Joint Armed Forces, Brig. Gen. Abolfazl Shekarchi, told Iranian news media that suggestions that missiles struck the plane were “an absolute lie.”

On Thursday, as Ukrainian investigators began to arrive in Tehran, Western officials were saying publicly that they had evidence that Iran had accidentally shot down the plane.

A chorus of senior Iranian officials — from the director of civil aviation to the chief government spokesman — issued statement after statement rejecting the allegations, their claims amplified on state media.

The suggestion that Iran would shoot down a passenger plane was a “Western plot,” they said, “psychological warfare” aimed at weakening Iran just as it had exercised its military muscle against the United States.

But in private, government officials were alarmed and questioning whether there was any truth to the Western claims. Mr. Rouhani, a seasoned military strategist himself, and his foreign minister, Javad Zarif, deflected phone calls from world leaders and foreign ministers seeking answers. Ignorant of what their own military had done, they had none to give.

Domestically, public pressure was building for the government to address the allegations.

Among the plane’s passengers were some of Iran’s best and brightest. They included prominent scientists and physicians, dozens of Iran’s top young scholars and graduates of elite universities, and six gold and silver medal winners of international physics and math Olympiads.

There were two newlywed couples who had traveled from Canada to Tehran for their weddings just days earlier. There were families and young children.

Their relatives demanded answers. Iranian social media began to explode with emotional commentary, some accusing Iran of murdering its own citizens and others calling such allegations treason.

Persian-language satellite channels operating from abroad, the main source of news for most Iranians, broadcast blanket coverage of the crash, including reports from Western governments that Iran had shot down the plane.

Mr. Rouhani tried several times to call military commanders, officials said, but they did not return his calls. Members of his government called their contacts in the military and were told the allegations were false. Iran’s civil aviation agency called military officials with similar results.

“Thursday was frantic,” Ali Rabiei, the government spokesman, said later in a news conference. “The government made back-to-back phone calls and contacted the armed forces asking what happened, and the answer to all the questions was that no missile had been fired.”

On Friday morning, Mr. Rabiei issued a statement saying the allegation that Iran had shot down the plane was “a big lie.”

Several hours later, the nation’s top military commanders called a private meeting and told Mr. Rouhani the truth.

Mr. Rouhani was livid, according to officials close to him. He demanded that Iran immediately announce that it had made a tragic mistake and accept the consequences.

The military officials pushed back, arguing that the fallout could destabilize the country.

Mr. Rouhani threatened to resign.

Canada, which had the most foreign citizens on board the plane, and the United States, which as Boeing’s home country was invited to investigate the crash, would eventually reveal their evidence, Mr. Rouhani said. The damage to Iran’s reputation and the public trust in the government would create an enormous crisis at a time when Iran could not bear more pressure.

As the standoff escalated, a member of Ayatollah Khamenei’s inner circle who was in the meeting informed the supreme leader. The ayatollah sent a message back to the group, ordering the government to prepare a public statement acknowledging what had happened.

Mr. Rouhani briefed a few senior members of his government. They were rattled.

Mr. Rabiei, the government spokesman who had issued a denial just that morning, broke down. Abbas Abdi, a prominent critic of Iran’s clerical establishment, said that when he spoke to Mr. Rabiei that evening, Mr. Rabiei was distraught and crying.

“Everything is a lie,” Mr. Rabiei said, according to Mr. Abdi. “The whole thing is a lie. What should I do? My honor is gone.”

Mr. Abdi said the government’s actions had gone “far beyond” just a lie.

“There was a systematic cover-up at the highest levels that makes it impossible to get out of this crisis,” he said.

Iran’s National Security Council held an emergency meeting and drafted two statements, the first to be issued by the Joint Armed Forces followed by a second one from Mr. Rouhani.

As they debated the wording, some suggested claiming that the United States or Israel may have contributed to the accident by jamming Iran’s radars or hacking its communications networks.

But the military commanders opposed it. General Hajizadeh said the shame of human error paled compared with admitting his air defense system was vulnerable to hacking by the enemy.

Iran’s Civil Aviation Agency later said that it had found no evidence of jamming or hacking.

At 7 a.m., the military released a statement admitting that Iran had shot down the plane because of “human error.”

The bombshell revelation has not ended the division within the government. The Revolutionary Guards want to pin the blame on those involved in firing the missiles and be done with it, officials said. The missile operator and up to 10 others have been arrested but officials have not identified them or said whether they had been charged.

Mr. Rouhani has demanded a broader accounting, including an investigation of the entire chain of command. The Guards’ accepting responsibility, he said, is “the first step and needs to be completed with other steps.” His spokesman and lawmakers have demanded to know why Mr. Rouhani was not immediately informed.

Mr. Rouhani touched on that concern when he put out his statement an hour and 15 minutes later. The first line said that he had found out about the investigative committee’s conclusion about cause of the crash “a few hours ago.”

It was a stunning admission, an acknowledgment that even the nation’s highest elected official had been shut out from the truth, and that as Iranians, and the world, turned to the government for answers, it had peddled lies.

“What we thought was news was a lie. What we thought was a lie was news,” said Hesamedin Ashna, Mr. Rouhani’s top adviser, on Twitter. “Why? Why? Beware of cover-ups and military rule.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Iran’s Supreme Leader Rebukes U.S. in Rare Friday Sermon

Iran’s supreme leader struck a defiant tone in a rare public sermon on Friday, calling the United States an “arrogant power” and telling tens of thousands of chanting worshipers that God’s backing had allowed his country to “slap the face” of the United States.

In his first such address in eight years, the leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, sought to rally supporters and undermine critics after weeks of turbulence in the Middle East that brought Iran and the United States to the brink of war and prompted street protests in Iran over the accidental downing of a civilian jetliner by Iranian forces.

Mr. Khamenei offered only scant condolences to the families who lost relatives in the crash, and instead sought to project strength. He dismissed protesters as “stooges of the United States,” lauded Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, Iran’s foreign operations chief who was killed in an American drone strike, and praised a retaliatory Iranian missile attack on United States forces in Iraq.

“These two weeks were extraordinary and eventful. Bitter and sweet events. Lessons we learned. The Iranian people went through a lot,” he said. “We delivered a slap to U.S.’s image as a superpower.”

He added that President Trump was a “clown” who only pretended to support the Iranian people but would “push a poisonous dagger” into their backs.

The event, choreographed to present an image of power and unity, skirted the accidental downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane on Jan. 8 by Iranian forces that killed all 176 people on board. A lone banner featuring an airplane hung between huge pictures of General Suleimani.

The downing of the jet — followed by three days of denials by Iranian officials — spurred a new wave of protests across the country that Iranian security forces have sought to quell with bullets and tear gas.

On Friday, the Ukrainian foreign minister, Vadym Prystaiko, said that an Iranian representative would travel to Ukraine next week and that Iran had agreed to hand over data and voice recorders from the downed plane after they had been examined by a team of experts from Canada, Iran and Ukraine.

Nearly 45 minutes into his sermon, Mr. Khamenei said his “heart burned” for the victims of the crash, but he quickly accused Iran’s enemies of seeking to capitalize on the tragedy to overshadow the killing of General Suleimani and the missile strikes on two bases that housed American troops in Iraq.

“As much as we were sad about the crash, our enemy was happy about it,” he said. “They thought they found an excuse to undermine the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and our armed forces and question the Islamic Republic.”

Westlake Legal Group iran-tehran-airport-crash-flights-promo-1578698739538-articleLarge Iran’s Supreme Leader Rebukes U.S. in Rare Friday Sermon Trump, Donald J Targeted Killings Suleimani, Qassim Prayers and Prayer Books Politics and Government Khamenei, Ali Iran Demonstrations, Protests and Riots

Flights In and Out of Tehran Continued After Missile Strikes and Plane Crash

Planes took off after Iran’s missile strikes on bases in Iraq, and even after a Ukrainian plane crashed shortly after takeoff.

Forgoing Tehran University, where Mr. Khamenei usually speaks, he appeared for communal Muslim prayers on Friday at Tehran’s Grand Mosalla, a large complex used as a communal prayer center for Muslim holidays and as an arena for election campaigns.

Crowds streamed in several hours before his sermon began, including schoolchildren, government employees and worshipers from neighboring provinces who had been bused in from their local mosques.

The complex had been outfitted with political messages: American flags were spread on the floor in the entrances so that worshipers could tread on them. Uniformed soldiers handed out posters of General Suleimani and red headbands with “God is Great” written in Arabic.

President Hassan Rouhani, who is seen as a moderate, was in the front row as Mr. Khamenei spoke. Former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also sat nearby, as did Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ aerospace forces who has said units under his command were responsible for shooting down the plane. Iranian lawmakers, politicians and other citizens have called for his resignation over the downing.

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Ukrainian Flight 752: How a Plane Came Down in 7 Minutes

Iranians have taken to the streets in protest after the government admitted, after three days of denials, that it accidentally shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet. Here’s everything we know about that seven-minute flight.

We first learned that it was a missile that took down a Ukrainian airliner over Iran because of this video showing the moment of impact. All 176 people on board were killed. To find out what happened to Flight 752 after it left Tehran airport on Jan. 8, we collected flight data, analyzed witness videos and images of the crash site, to paint the clearest picture yet of that disastrous seven-minute flight. We’ll walk you through the evidence, minute by minute, from the plane’s takeoff to the moment it crashed. It’s the early hours of Wednesday, Jan. 8. Iran has just launched ballistic missiles at U.S. military targets in Iraq in retaliation for an American drone strike that killed Iranian military leader Qassim Suleimani. Iranian defenses are on high alert, on guard for a possible U.S. attack. Four hours later, at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport, Flight 752, operated by Ukraine International Airlines, is getting ready for departure. At 6:12 a.m., the plane takes off. It flies northwest, and climbs to almost 8,000 feet in around three minutes, according to flight tracker data. It’s following its regular route. Up ahead are several military sites. Until now, the plane’s transponder has been signaling normally. But just before 6:15 a.m., it stops. This is where the first missile hits the plane. Footage from a security camera near one of the military sites shows the missile launch. It hits the plane, and knocks out the transponder. But the airliner keeps flying. A security camera, directly beneath, shows what happens next. A second missile launches 30 seconds after the first, and it explodes, moments later. A third video shows the impact. Let’s watch it again, and slow it down. Here is the missile, and here is the plane. An Iranian military commander said a defense system operator mistook the passenger jet for a cruise missile. The plane is now on fire. We don’t know its precise path after 6:15 a.m., but we do know that it turns back in the direction of the airport. It continues flying for several minutes, engulfed by flames. Around 6:19 a.m., a bystander films the plane slowly going down. There appears to be second explosion before the jetliner plummets outside Tehran about 10 miles from where the last signal was sent. A security camera captures that moment as the plane crashes toward it. Here we see the immediate aftermath of the crash. As day breaks, another witness films the smoldering wreckage. Debris is spread out over 1,500 feet along a small park, orchards and a soccer field, narrowly missing a nearby village. A large section of the plane looks badly charred. More jet parts are found here, and the plane’s tail and wheels land over 500 feet away. It is a gruesome scene. The passengers’ personal items — toys, clothes, photo albums — are scattered around. After days of denials, Iran took responsibility for the crash, blaming human error at a moment of heightened tensions.

Westlake Legal Group merlin_166953561_06e1cc97-db54-4a54-a482-c464887a1919-videoSixteenByNine3000 Iran’s Supreme Leader Rebukes U.S. in Rare Friday Sermon Trump, Donald J Targeted Killings Suleimani, Qassim Prayers and Prayer Books Politics and Government Khamenei, Ali Iran Demonstrations, Protests and Riots

Iranians have taken to the streets in protest after the government admitted, after three days of denials, that it accidentally shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet. Here’s everything we know about that seven-minute flight.CreditCredit…Akbar Tavakoli/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Large banners inside the complex featured the face of General Suleimani and other men who were killed alongside him in United States drone strikes, ordered by Mr. Trump, near the Baghdad airport on Jan. 2. Other banners read, “Death to America.”

Mr. Khamenei, 80, Iran’s top political and religious official, delivers Friday sermons only at times of serious crisis that require his intervention. His last such sermon was in 2012, during the Arab Spring uprisings in the region. He also spoke in 2009, during widespread protests in Iran contesting the results of a presidential election that became known as the Green Movement.

In both instances, Mr. Khamenei’s reinforced the government’s hard line by ordering people off the streets.

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Iran ‘Concludes’ Attacks, Foreign Minister Says: Live Updates

Here are the latest developments:

Iran has “concluded” its attacks on American forces and does “not seek escalation or war,” the country’s foreign minister said in a tweet on Wednesday.

Moments later, President Trump said in a tweet that he would make a statement on Wednesday morning about the conflict, and suggested that damages and casualties sustained by American forces were minimal. But he also said the assessment of the attacks was ongoing.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s tweet followed two missile attacks on bases in Iraq housing American forces in response to the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, a leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.

“Iran took & concluded proportionate measures in self-defense under Article 51 of UN Charter targeting base from which cowardly armed attack against our citizens & senior officials were launched,” Mr. Zarif said.

“We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression,” he added.

Tensions between the United States and Iran came to a head in recent weeks when an American military contractor was killed, Iranian-backed militias stormed the United States Embassy compound in Baghdad on New Year’s Eve and General Suleimani was killed in an American drone strike last Friday.

Iran swore vengeance for the general’s death leading to concerns of full-scale war in the region. On Tuesday, Iran fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two military bases in Iraq where American troops are stationed.

“All is well!,” President Trump said in a tweet on Tuesday. “Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far, so good!”

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_166461435_4844cadb-e6d4-47d0-92db-6c5681d358c5-articleLarge Iran ‘Concludes’ Attacks, Foreign Minister Says: Live Updates Trump, Donald J Targeted Killings Suleimani, Qassim Khamenei, Ali Iran Diplomatic Service, Embassies and Consulates Defense and Military Forces

The Asad air base in Anbar Province, in western Iraq, last month. It was the site of a missile attack by Iran, the Pentagon said.Credit…Nasser Nasser/Associated Press

Iran fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two military bases in Iraq where American troops are stationed, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

“It is clear that these missiles were launched from Iran and targeted at least two Iraqi military bases hosting U.S. military and coalition personnel at Al-Asad and Erbil,” Jonathan Hoffman, the Pentagon’s chief spokesman, said in a statement.

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

In a briefing in Washington, an official said that the Pentagon “had no confirmation” that any Americans had been killed.

Iranian officials said the attacks were the start of a promised retaliation for the killing of a top Revolutionary Guards commander. “The fierce revenge by the Revolutionary Guards has begun,” Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said in a statement on a Telegram channel.

Iranian news media reported the attacks hours after the remains of the commander, Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, were returned to his hometown in Iran for burial.

Hossein Soleimani, the editor in chief of Mashregh, the main Revolutionary Guards news website, said that more than 30 ballistic missiles had been fired at the base at Asad, in Anbar Province, in western Iraq.

A base in Erbil, in northern Iraq, was also attacked.

An Iranian Revolutionary Guards statement on state television said: “If America responds to these attacks there will be bigger attacks on the way. This is not a threat, it’s a warning.”

Some Iranian officials tweeted images of Iranian flags in a pointed rejoinder to President Trump, who tweeted an American flag after General Suleimani was killed.

In a statement, the White House said, “The president has been briefed and is monitoring the situation closely and consulting with his national security team.”

Throughout the day, reports from American intelligence agencies of an imminent attack from Iran had intensified, and senior officials said they were bracing for some kind of attack against American bases in Iraq or elsewhere in the Middle East.

As tensions mounted, Mr. Trump’s top national security advisers met Tuesday afternoon in the White House Situation Room, where they were joined by the president after his meeting with the Greek prime minister.

Westlake Legal Group iraq-embassy-baghdad-airport-attack-1578026455663-articleLarge-v8 Iran ‘Concludes’ Attacks, Foreign Minister Says: Live Updates Trump, Donald J Targeted Killings Suleimani, Qassim Khamenei, Ali Iran Diplomatic Service, Embassies and Consulates Defense and Military Forces

Maps: How the Confrontation Between the U.S. and Iran Escalated

Here’s how the situation developed over the last two weeks.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was meeting with senior Democrats Tuesday evening in her Capitol office suite, discussing Mr. Trump’s impeachment, when she was handed a note about the Iranian attack.

“We’ve got to pray,” she said, according to Representative Debbie Dingell, Democrat of Michigan, who was at the meeting.

Ms. Pelosi said she was “closely monitoring the situation.”

“We must ensure the safety of our service members, including ending needless provocations from the administration and demanding that Iran cease its violence,” she said in a tweet. “America & world cannot afford war.”

Drew Hammill, Ms. Pelosi’s spokesman, said she returned a call shortly thereafter from Vice President Mike Pence, who briefed her on the strikes.

Mr. Pence also briefed Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader.

In December 2018, Mr. Trump visited American military forces at Al Asad. It was his first trip to troops stationed in a combat zone.

The base at Asad is an Iraqi base that has long been a hub for American military operations in western Iraq. Danish troops have also been stationed there in recent years.

In 2017, as the American-led coalition built up the base for its campaign against the Islamic State, roughly 500 American military and civilian personnel were located there. Some troops departed after the defeat of the Islamic State’s so-called caliphate in 2019, but the base maintains a robust presence of coalition troops.

The American base in Erbil has been a Special Operations hub, home to hundreds of troops, logistics personnel, and intelligence specialists. Transport aircraft, gunships, and reconnaissance planes have used the airport as an anchor point for operations in both northern Iraq and deep into Syria.

Oil prices jumped and markets slumped in Asia early on Wednesday, as investors tried to parse reports of missile attacks on military bases in Iraq where American troops are stationed.

Prices for Brent crude, the international oil benchmark, jumped above $70 a barrel in futures markets, a nearly 4 percent rise from Tuesday. West Texas Intermediate, the American oil price benchmark, jumped more than 3 percent to about $65 a barrel.

Stock markets also dropped sharply. Shares in Japan opened 2.4 percent lower, while markets in Hong Kong and South Korea fell more than 1 percent on their opening.

Investors were also predicting a tough day on Wall Street. Futures contracts representing bets on the American stock market indicated a drop of more than 1 percent in New York’s morning.

Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said Tuesday that General Suleimani had been planning attacks to occur within days, laying out the administration’s legal justification for killing the Iranian commander in a drone strike.

Americans officials have been pressed over their claims that they targeted General Suleimani to forestall imminent attacks against U.S. interests.

At a Pentagon news conference Tuesday, Mr. Esper was asked whether attacks had been expected in days or weeks. “I think it’s more fair to say days,” the defense secretary said.

He declined to offer more details, nor to describe the intelligence underpinning that assessment.

Mr. Esper said General Suleimani, who was killed Friday in Iraq, “was in Baghdad to coordinate additional attacks.”

“He’s been conducting terrorist activities against us and our coalition partners for over 20 years,” Mr. Esper said. “He has the blood of hundreds of Americans, soldiers, on his hands and wounded thousands more. And then we could talk about all of the mayhem he’s caused against the Syrian people, the people of Lebanon. Even his own people in Iran.”

He added: “To somehow suggest that he wasn’t a legitimate target, I think, is fanciful. He was clearly on the battlefield.”

Mr. Esper also said that despite an unsigned draft letter from the American military command in Baghdad on troop withdrawal and a unanimous vote by the Iraqi Parliament, the United States does not plan to pull its troops out of Iraq right now.

The Pentagon has made preparations in anticipation of Iranian retaliation, Mr. Esper said, and American troops in the Middle East are on a heightened state of alert.

“I think we should expect that they will retaliate in some way, shape or form,” Mr. Esper told a news conference at the Pentagon. “We’re prepared for any contingency and then we’ll respond appropriately to whatever they do.”

President Trump on Tuesday told reporters he would avoid targeting cultural sites in military attacks, walking back a threat he made against Iran days earlier.

Following a bipartisan and international uproar, Mr. Trump conceded that striking such sites would amount to a war crime. “If that’s what the law is, I like to obey the law,” he said in the Oval Office as he hosted the visiting prime minister of Greece, Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

His remarks to reporters came a day after Mark T. Esper, the secretary of defense, said striking Iranian cultural sites with no military value would be a war crime. That appeared to put him at odds with his boss.

“We will follow the laws of armed conflict,” the defense secretary said at a news briefing at the Pentagon on Monday when asked if cultural sites would be targeted.

On Saturday, Mr. Trump declared that the United States had identified 52 potential targets in Iran, some “important to Iran & the Iranian culture.”

None of them qualified as cultural sites, according to an administration official who asked not to be identified.

But the president’s threats and his initial refusal to back down in the face of criticism generated condemnation at home and abroad while deeply discomfiting American military leaders.

NATO is removing some of the trainers who have been working with Iraqi soldiers battling the Islamic State, in the wake of the American killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani.

On Monday, the NATO secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, announced that training had been temporarily suspended.

Describing security of NATO personnel, the organization said in a statement that it would be taking precautions — including “the temporary repositioning of some personnel to different locations both inside and outside Iraq.’’

NATO “maintains a presence in Iraq’’ and remains committed “to fighting international terrorism,” an official said, but refused to provide “operational details’’ about troop movements.

NATO has had roughly 500 soldiers doing the training.

Some NATO countries, like Canada, Germany and Croatia, have announced that they are moving troops out of Iraq altogether, at least temporarily, because of security concerns.

Canada is temporarily moving to Kuwait some of its 500 military personnel based in Iraq, the country’s top military official, Gen. Jonathan Vance, said in a letter posted on Twitter on Tuesday.

Thirty of the 120 German soldiers in Iraq will be sent to Jordan and Kuwait, while others will remain positioned in the less volatile Kurdistan region, the German defense and foreign ministries said in a joint letter to the German parliament, the Bundestag.

“When the training is able to resume, the military personnel can be reinstated,” the letter said.

Croatia has also moved its small contingent of soldiers — 14 — from Iraq, with seven bound for Kuwait and the rest headed home, the Croatian Defense Ministry said. Slovakia has also removed its seven soldiers.

Some NATO troops began leaving Baghdad’s Green Zone in helicopters Monday night. The NATO training mission began in 2018 at Iraq’s request.

The killing of General Suleimani initially jolted oil markets, but the surge in prices has eased. On Tuesday afternoon, the Brent crude oil benchmark was down about 1.5 percent, to about $67.87 a barrel.

Analysts attribute the modesty of the increase to market skepticism that Iran will seek to hobble oil trading by, for example, closing the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow channel that many oil tankers have to pass through when they leave the Persian Gulf.

Oil flows have not been disrupted, so far, and the markets are “pricing in just a low probability of something happening,” said Bjornar Tonhaugen, head of oil market research at Rystad Energy, a research firm.

Iranian state-run news outlets reported a deadly stampede during the funeral procession for General Suleimani in his hometown, Kerman, in southeastern Iran, on Tuesday.

Millions were reported to have flooded the town’s streets to witness the procession for the general, who was killed in an American drone strike in Baghdad last week. His death has fanned smoldering tensions between the United States and Iran, and fueled fears of a broader conflict.

The crowding and subsequent stampede in Kerman led to General Suleimani’s burial being postponed, state news media reported. He was buried around midnight, as Iran prepared to launch missile attacks against American forces in retaliation for his death, said Hossein Soleimani, the editor in chief of the main Revolutionary Guards news website.

Photographs of the procession showed an elaborately decorated truck carrying General Suleimani’s coffin through streets packed densely with mourners, many wearing black and carrying pictures of the dead commander.

“Unfortunately, as a result of a stampede, some of our compatriots have been injured and some have been killed during the funeral processions,” Pirhossein Koulivand, head of the Iranian emergency medical services, told the news agency IRIB.

Fifty-six people died and 213 were injured, the broadcaster IRIB reported on its website.

Images and videos posted on social media showed the aftermath of the crush, with emergency workers and bystanders attempting to resuscitate people lying on the ground. The lifeless bodies of other victims, jackets covering their faces, could be seen nearby.

The general’s body had been flown to Kerman after a funeral in Tehran on Monday that had brought even bigger crowds into the streets of the Iranian capital.

In a fiery speech made in General Suleimani’s hometown on Tuesday, the leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps vowed to “set ablaze” places where Americans and their allies live.

“We will take revenge — a revenge that will be tough, strong, decisive and finishing and will make them regret,” the corps’s leader, Hossein Salami, said on Tuesday in a front of a crowd of mourners. “We will set ablaze the place they like, and they know where it is.”

“Today, the seeds of hatred for the U.S. have been sown in the hearts of Muslims,” he added, according to Fars, an Iranian news agency associated with the Revolutionary Guards.

The pledge to seek vengeance echoed the rhetoric of many of the country’s leaders since General Suleimani’s killing on Friday. “Death to Israel,” the crowd chanted back, according to news reports. Israel, a close ally of the United States, has long been an enemy of Iran.

Thousands of mourners, dressed in black and carrying photos of General Suleimani, crowded the central square of Kerman, where the general’s body was taken for burial after a funeral procession on Monday in Tehran, the capital.

Before arriving in Kerman, the general’s remains were taken to the holy city of Qom, where thousands of residents came out, hoping for a chance to touch the coffin of a man the state has declared a martyr.

On Monday, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wept and offered prayers over General Suleimani’s coffin at the enormous state funeral. The ayatollah, Iran’s supreme leader, had a close relationship with the general, who was widely considered to be the country’s second-most powerful man.

General Suleimani’s successor swore revenge during Monday’s ceremony.

“God the almighty has promised to get his revenge, and God is the main avenger,” said Esmail Ghaani, the Iranian general who will succeed General Suleimani as head of the Quds Force, the foreign expeditionary arm of the Revolutionary Guards. “Certainly, actions will be taken,” he added.

With the American role in the Middle East in flux, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia flew to Damascus, Syria, on Tuesday for a victory lap of sorts.

Highlighting Russia’s newfound influence in the region, Mr. Putin met with President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, the strongman whose rule was largely rescued by Russian military intervention in Syria’s civil war.

Mr. Putin told Mr. al-Assad that “one can now confidently state that huge strides have been made in restoring Syrian statehood and the territorial integrity of the country,” a Kremlin statement said.

The Kremlin made no mention of Iran in its description of Mr. Putin’s visit, which had not been announced ahead of time. But Tehran was a crucial partner of Moscow in propping up Mr. al-Assad against Syrian rebels, including those backed by the United States.

Russia has called the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani of Iran illegal and expressed condolences to Tehran. On Wednesday, Mr. Putin is scheduled to meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey in Istanbul, with Syria and Libya on the agenda, according to the Kremlin.

President Emmanuel Macron of France spoke with the president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, by phone on Tuesday afternoon to plead for calm and de-escalation.

Mr. Macron called on Iran to “refrain from any step that might aggravate the escalation already underway,” according to a statement from the Élysée Palace, the seat of the French presidency.

France has tried to play the role of mediator between the Iranians and Americans for months, but in vain.

The French president also called on Iran to respect the 2015 nuclear accord, and to release two French academics, Fariba Adelkhah and Roland Marchal, who are being held there, a major source of tension between the two countries.

Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, said on Tuesday that he had been rejected for a visa to attend a Security Council meeting at the United Nations headquarters in New York, confirming reports from American news outlets that he would be barred.

Mr. Zarif, in an interview with the Iranian news outlet Press TV, said that his office had requested a visa weeks ago to participate in the meeting on Thursday, rejecting claims by American officials that they had not had time to process the application.

“The Americans are trying to create the impression that our request to attend the meeting was put forth following the assassination of General Suleimani,” Mr. Zarif said, according to the news outlet, adding, “The question everyone needs to be asking this lawbreaking administration is: What are they so scared of?”

Mr. Zarif later posted on Twitter about the situation, taking aim at Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and President Trump.

During a Tuesday morning news conference, Mr. Pompeo was asked about the visa but said he would not comment specifically on visa matters. He added that the United States would “comply with our obligations” under United Nations rules.

Robert C. O’Brien, the American national security adviser, was asked on “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday morning about the visa.

“I don’t think Secretary Pompeo thought that this was the right time for Mr. Zarif to come to the United States, and whenever he comes to New York, he spreads propaganda,” Mr. O’Brien said.

In August, the United States announced sanctions on Mr. Zarif, a seasoned diplomat who helped negotiate the 2015 nuclear deal.

Across the Middle East and the world, United States embassies warned Americans of potential attacks from Iran, as Iranian generals vowed to avenge the senior commander killed in an American drone strike.

In Jerusalem, the embassy told Americans on Monday to watch out for “mortars and rocket fire.” A day earlier, the United States Mission in Saudi Arabia had warned citizens to be prepared for “missile and drone attacks.”

The security alerts follow the targeted killing on Friday of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the leading figure in Iran’s foreign-facing intelligence and military operations.

At General Suleimani’s funeral in Tehran on Monday, military commanders promised vengeance. Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told advisers that any retaliation against the United States should be direct, proportional and carried out openly by Iran.

That is a startling departure for the Iranian leadership, which has typically cloaked its attacks behind the actions of proxies it has cultivated around the region. But in the fury generated by the killing of General Suleimani, a close ally and personal friend of the supreme leader, the ayatollah was apparently willing to cast aside those traditional cautions.

Warnings to United State citizens were sent by American diplomats not only in the Middle East but also in Asia.

The American Embassy in Beijing, citing “heightened tension in the Middle East,” advised American citizens on Tuesday to keep a low profile, be aware of their surroundings, stay alert in tourist locations, review personal security plans and ensure that their travel documents were updated and accessible. American citizens in South Korea said they had received similar warnings.

American diplomats in the Middle East began sending advisories earlier in the week.

American embassies across the region have been on heightened alert since Dec. 31, when militants, backed by the Iranian government, stormed the embassy in Baghdad. President Trump said the assault was organized by General Suleimani.

Last week, embassies in Baghdad and in Beirut, Lebanon, issued security alerts. Some airlines have halted flights to the Iraqi capital, including EgyptAir, which on Tuesday announced that its flights in and out of the city would stop from Wednesday through Friday.

The Iranian Parliament on Tuesday passed a bill declaring the American military’s top leadership to be “terrorists,” subject to Iranian sanctions, according to news reports in state media.

The bill aimed at the Pentagon’s top brass mirrored a Trump administration policy implemented in April that imposed economic and travel sanctions on the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as well as organizations, companies and individuals with ties to it.

That policy represented the first time an arm of a sovereign government had been designated a terrorist organization.

The Defense Department said the killing of General Suleimani was justified in part because of the corps’s terrorist designation. General Suleimani led the Quds Force, a unit of the Revolutionary Guards that conducted intelligence-gathering and attacks outside Iran’s borders.

An official letter from the Defense Department informing Iraq that American troops were “repositioning forces” for “movement out of Iraq” produced headlines around the world saying that an American withdrawal had begun.

But the letter, drafted by the United States military command in Baghdad, was sent out by mistake. The furor it caused prompted Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark A. Milley, to call an urgent news conference to deny the reports.

“It was an honest mistake,” General Milley told reporters at the Pentagon. “That letter is a draft, it was a mistake, it was unsigned, it should not have been released.”

Reporting was contributed by Megan Specia, Russell Goldman, Farnaz Fassihi, David D. Kirkpatrick, Melissa Eddy, Edward Wong, Lara Jakes, Peter Baker, Maggie Haberman, Alissa J. Rubin, Ben Hubbard, Mark Landler, Helene Cooper, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Eric Schmitt, Adam Nossiter and Anton Troianovski.

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Iran Fires Missiles at U.S. Troops at Two Bases in Iraq: Live Updates

Here are the latest developments:

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_166461435_4844cadb-e6d4-47d0-92db-6c5681d358c5-articleLarge Iran Fires Missiles at U.S. Troops at Two Bases in Iraq: Live Updates Trump, Donald J Targeted Killings Suleimani, Qassim Khamenei, Ali Iran Diplomatic Service, Embassies and Consulates Defense and Military Forces

The Asad air base in Anbar Province, in western Iraq, last month. It was the site of a missile attack by Iran, the Pentagon said.Credit…Nasser Nasser/Associated Press

Iran fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two military bases in Iraq where American troops are based, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

“It is clear that these missiles were launched from Iran and targeted at least two Iraqi military bases hosting U.S. military and coalition personnel at Al-Asad and Erbil,” Jonathan Hoffman, the Pentagon’s chief spokesman, said in a statement.

There were no immediate reports of casualties, and the Pentagon said Tuesday evening that it was still assessing the damage.

Iranian officials said the attacks were the start of a promised retaliation for the killing of a top Revolutionary Guards commander. “The fierce revenge by the Revolutionary Guards has begun,” Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said in a statement on a Telegram channel.

Iranian news media reported the attacks hours after the remains of the commander, Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, were returned to his hometown in Iran for burial.

Hossein Soleimani, the editor in chief of Mashregh, the main Revolutionary Guards news website, said that more than 30 ballistic missiles had been fired at the American base at Asad, in Anbar Province, in western Iraq.

An American base in Erbil, in northern Iraq, was also attacked.

A Revolutionary Guards statement on state television said: “If America responds to these attacks there will be bigger attacks on the way. This is not a threat, it’s a warning.”

Some Iranian officials tweeted images of Iranian flags in a pointed rejoinder to President Trump, who tweeted an American flag after General Suleimani was killed.

In a statement, the White House said, “The president has been briefed and is monitoring the situation closely and consulting with his national security team.”

Throughout the day, reports from American intelligence agencies of an imminent attack from Iran had intensified, and senior officials said they were bracing for some kind of attack against American bases in Iraq or elsewhere in the Middle East.

As tensions mounted, Mr. Trump’s top national security advisers met Tuesday afternoon in the White House Situation Room, where they were joined by the president after his meeting with the Greek prime minister.

Westlake Legal Group iraq-embassy-baghdad-airport-attack-1578026455663-articleLarge-v7 Iran Fires Missiles at U.S. Troops at Two Bases in Iraq: Live Updates Trump, Donald J Targeted Killings Suleimani, Qassim Khamenei, Ali Iran Diplomatic Service, Embassies and Consulates Defense and Military Forces

Maps: How the Confrontation Between the U.S. and Iran Escalated

Here’s how the situation developed over the last two weeks.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was meeting with senior Democrats Tuesday evening in her Capitol office suite, discussing Mr. Trump’s impeachment, when she was handed a note about the Iranian attack.

“We’ve got to pray,” she said, according to Representative Debbie Dingell, Democrat of Michigan, who was at the meeting.

Ms. Pelosi said she was “closely monitoring the situation.”

“We must ensure the safety of our service members, including ending needless provocations from the administration and demanding that Iran cease its violence,” she said in a tweet. “America & world cannot afford war.”

Drew Hammill, Ms. Pelosi’s spokesman, said she returned a call shortly thereafter from Vice President Mike Pence, who briefed her on the strikes.

Mr. Pence also briefed Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader.

In December 2018, Mr. Trump visited American military forces at Al Asad. It was his first trip to troops stationed in a combat zone.

The base at Asad is an Iraqi base that has long been a hub for American military operations in western Iraq. Danish troops have also been stationed there in recent years.

In 2017, as the American-led coalition built up the base for its campaign against the Islamic State, roughly 500 American military and civilian personnel were located there. Some troops departed after the defeat of the Islamic State’s so-called caliphate in 2019, but the base maintains a robust presence of coalition troops.

The American base in Erbil has been a Special Operations hub, home to hundreds of troops, logistics personnel, and intelligence specialists. Transport aircraft, gunships, and reconnaissance planes have used the airport as an anchor point for operations in both northern Iraq and deep into Syria.

Prices for Brent crude, the international oil benchmark, jumped above $70 a barrel in futures markets, a nearly 4 percent rise from Tuesday. West Texas Intermediate, the American oil price benchmark, jumped more than 3 percent to about $65 a barrel.

Stock markets also dropped sharply. Shares in Japan opened 2.4 percent lower, while markets in Hong Kong and South Korea fell more than 1 percent on their opening.

Investors were also predicting a tough day on Wall Street. Futures contracts representing bets on the American stock market indicated a drop of more than 1 percent in New York’s morning.

Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said Tuesday that General Suleimani had been planning attacks to occur within days, laying out the administration’s legal justification for killing the Iranian commander in a drone strike.

Americans officials have been pressed over their claims that they targeted General Suleimani to forestall imminent attacks against U.S. interests.

At a Pentagon news conference Tuesday, Mr. Esper was asked whether attacks had been expected in days or weeks. “I think it’s more fair to say days,” the defense secretary said.

He declined to offer more details, nor to describe the intelligence underpinning that assessment.

Mr. Esper said General Suleimani, who was killed Friday in Iraq, “was in Baghdad to coordinate additional attacks.”

“He’s been conducting terrorist activities against us and our coalition partners for over 20 years,” Mr. Esper said. “He has the blood of hundreds of Americans, soldiers, on his hands and wounded thousands more. And then we could talk about all of the mayhem he’s caused against the Syrian people, the people of Lebanon. Even his own people in Iran.”

He added: “To somehow suggest that he wasn’t a legitimate target, I think, is fanciful. He was clearly on the battlefield.”

Mr. Esper also said that despite an unsigned draft letter from the American military command in Baghdad on troop withdrawal and a unanimous vote by the Iraqi Parliament, the United States does not plan to pull its troops out of Iraq right now.

The Pentagon has made preparations in anticipation of Iranian retaliation, Mr. Esper said, and American troops in the Middle East are on a heightened state of alert.

“I think we should expect that they will retaliate in some way, shape or form,” Mr. Esper told a news conference at the Pentagon. “We’re prepared for any contingency and then we’ll respond appropriately to whatever they do.”

President Trump on Tuesday told reporters he would avoid targeting cultural sites in military attacks, walking back a threat he made against Iran days earlier.

Following a bipartisan and international uproar, Mr. Trump conceded that striking such sites would amount to a war crime. “If that’s what the law is, I like to obey the law,” he said in the Oval Office as he hosted the visiting prime minister of Greece, Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

His remarks to reporters came a day after Mark T. Esper, the secretary of defense, said striking Iranian cultural sites with no military value would be a war crime. That appeared to put him at odds with his boss.

“We will follow the laws of armed conflict,” the defense secretary said at a news briefing at the Pentagon on Monday when asked if cultural sites would be targeted.

On Saturday, Mr. Trump declared that the United States had identified 52 potential targets in Iran, some “important to Iran & the Iranian culture.”

None of them qualified as cultural sites, according to an administration official who asked not to be identified.

But the president’s threats and his initial refusal to back down in the face of criticism generated condemnation at home and abroad while deeply discomfiting American military leaders.

NATO is removing some of the trainers who have been working with Iraqi soldiers battling the Islamic State, in the wake of the American killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani.

On Monday, the NATO secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, announced that training had been temporarily suspended.

Describing security of NATO personnel, the organization said in a statement that it would be taking precautions — including “the temporary repositioning of some personnel to different locations both inside and outside Iraq.’’

NATO “maintains a presence in Iraq’’ and remains committed “to fighting international terrorism,” an official said, but refused to provide “operational details’’ about troop movements.

NATO has had roughly 500 soldiers doing the training.

Some NATO countries, like Canada, Germany and Croatia, have announced that they are moving troops out of Iraq altogether, at least temporarily, because of security concerns.

Canada is temporarily moving to Kuwait some of its 500 military personnel based in Iraq, the country’s top military official, Gen. Jonathan Vance, said in a letter posted on Twitter on Tuesday.

Thirty of the 120 German soldiers in Iraq will be sent to Jordan and Kuwait, while others will remain positioned in the less volatile Kurdistan region, the German defense and foreign ministries said in a joint letter to the German parliament, the Bundestag.

“When the training is able to resume, the military personnel can be reinstated,” the letter said.

Croatia has also moved its small contingent of soldiers — 14 — from Iraq, with seven bound for Kuwait and the rest headed home, the Croatian Defense Ministry said. Slovakia has also removed its seven soldiers.

Some NATO troops began leaving Baghdad’s Green Zone in helicopters Monday night. The NATO training mission began in 2018 at Iraq’s request.

The killing of General Suleimani initially jolted oil markets, but the surge in prices has eased. On Tuesday afternoon, the Brent crude oil benchmark was down about 1.5 percent, to about $67.87 a barrel.

Analysts attribute the modesty of the increase to market skepticism that Iran will seek to hobble oil trading by, for example, closing the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow channel that many oil tankers have to pass through when they leave the Persian Gulf.

Oil flows have not been disrupted, so far, and the markets are “pricing in just a low probability of something happening,” said Bjornar Tonhaugen, head of oil market research at Rystad Energy, a research firm.

Iranian state-run news outlets reported a deadly stampede during the funeral procession for General Suleimani in his hometown, Kerman, in southeastern Iran, on Tuesday.

Millions were reported to have flooded the town’s streets to witness the procession for the general, who was killed in an American drone strike in Baghdad last week. His death has fanned smoldering tensions between the United States and Iran, and fueled fears of a broader conflict.

The crowding and subsequent stampede in Kerman led to General Suleimani’s burial being postponed, state news media reported. He was buried around midnight, as Iran prepared to launch missile attacks against American forces in retaliation for his death, said Hossein Soleimani, the editor in chief of the main Revolutionary Guards news website.

Photographs of the procession showed an elaborately decorated truck carrying General Suleimani’s coffin through streets packed densely with mourners, many wearing black and carrying pictures of the dead commander.

“Unfortunately, as a result of a stampede, some of our compatriots have been injured and some have been killed during the funeral processions,” Pirhossein Koulivand, head of the Iranian emergency medical services, told the news agency IRIB.

Fifty-six people died and 213 were injured, the broadcaster IRIB reported on its website.

Images and videos posted on social media showed the aftermath of the crush, with emergency workers and bystanders attempting to resuscitate people lying on the ground. The lifeless bodies of other victims, jackets covering their faces, could be seen nearby.

The general’s body had been flown to Kerman after a funeral in Tehran on Monday that had brought even bigger crowds into the streets of the Iranian capital.

In a fiery speech made in General Suleimani’s hometown on Tuesday, the leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps vowed to “set ablaze” places where Americans and their allies live.

“We will take revenge — a revenge that will be tough, strong, decisive and finishing and will make them regret,” the corps’s leader, Hossein Salami, said on Tuesday in a front of a crowd of mourners. “We will set ablaze the place they like, and they know where it is.”

“Today, the seeds of hatred for the U.S. have been sown in the hearts of Muslims,” he added, according to Fars, an Iranian news agency associated with the Revolutionary Guards.

The pledge to seek vengeance echoed the rhetoric of many of the country’s leaders since General Suleimani’s killing on Friday. “Death to Israel,” the crowd chanted back, according to news reports. Israel, a close ally of the United States, has long been an enemy of Iran.

Thousands of mourners, dressed in black and carrying photos of General Suleimani, crowded the central square of Kerman, where the general’s body was taken for burial after a funeral procession on Monday in Tehran, the capital.

Before arriving in Kerman, the general’s remains were taken to the holy city of Qom, where thousands of residents came out, hoping for a chance to touch the coffin of a man the state has declared a martyr.

On Monday, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wept and offered prayers over General Suleimani’s coffin at the enormous state funeral. The ayatollah, Iran’s supreme leader, had a close relationship with the general, who was widely considered to be the country’s second-most powerful man.

General Suleimani’s successor swore revenge during Monday’s ceremony.

“God the almighty has promised to get his revenge, and God is the main avenger,” said Esmail Ghaani, the Iranian general who will succeed General Suleimani as head of the Quds Force, the foreign expeditionary arm of the Revolutionary Guards. “Certainly, actions will be taken,” he added.

With the American role in the Middle East in flux, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia flew to Damascus, Syria, on Tuesday for a victory lap of sorts.

Highlighting Russia’s newfound influence in the region, Mr. Putin met with President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, the strongman whose rule was largely rescued by Russian military intervention in Syria’s civil war.

Mr. Putin told Mr. al-Assad that “one can now confidently state that huge strides have been made in restoring Syrian statehood and the territorial integrity of the country,” a Kremlin statement said.

The Kremlin made no mention of Iran in its description of Mr. Putin’s visit, which had not been announced ahead of time. But Tehran was a crucial partner of Moscow in propping up Mr. al-Assad against Syrian rebels, including those backed by the United States.

Russia has called the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani of Iran illegal and expressed condolences to Tehran. On Wednesday, Mr. Putin is scheduled to meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey in Istanbul, with Syria and Libya on the agenda, according to the Kremlin.

President Emmanuel Macron of France spoke with the president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, by phone on Tuesday afternoon to plead for calm and de-escalation.

Mr. Macron called on Iran to “refrain from any step that might aggravate the escalation already underway,” according to a statement from the Élysée Palace, the seat of the French presidency.

France has tried to play the role of mediator between the Iranians and Americans for months, but in vain.

The French president also called on Iran to respect the 2015 nuclear accord, and to release two French academics, Fariba Adelkhah and Roland Marchal, who are being held there, a major source of tension between the two countries.

Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, said on Tuesday that he had been rejected for a visa to attend a Security Council meeting at the United Nations headquarters in New York, confirming reports from American news outlets that he would be barred.

Mr. Zarif, in an interview with the Iranian news outlet Press TV, said that his office had requested a visa weeks ago to participate in the meeting on Thursday, rejecting claims by American officials that they had not had time to process the application.

“The Americans are trying to create the impression that our request to attend the meeting was put forth following the assassination of General Suleimani,” Mr. Zarif said, according to the news outlet, adding, “The question everyone needs to be asking this lawbreaking administration is: What are they so scared of?”

Mr. Zarif later posted on Twitter about the situation, taking aim at Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and President Trump.

During a Tuesday morning news conference, Mr. Pompeo was asked about the visa but said he would not comment specifically on visa matters. He added that the United States would “comply with our obligations” under United Nations rules.

Robert C. O’Brien, the American national security adviser, was asked on “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday morning about the visa.

“I don’t think Secretary Pompeo thought that this was the right time for Mr. Zarif to come to the United States, and whenever he comes to New York, he spreads propaganda,” Mr. O’Brien said.

In August, the United States announced sanctions on Mr. Zarif, a seasoned diplomat who helped negotiate the 2015 nuclear deal.

Across the Middle East and the world, United States embassies warned Americans of potential attacks from Iran, as Iranian generals vowed to avenge the senior commander killed in an American drone strike.

In Jerusalem, the embassy told Americans on Monday to watch out for “mortars and rocket fire.” A day earlier, the United States Mission in Saudi Arabia had warned citizens to be prepared for “missile and drone attacks.”

The security alerts follow the targeted killing on Friday of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the leading figure in Iran’s foreign-facing intelligence and military operations.

At General Suleimani’s funeral in Tehran on Monday, military commanders promised vengeance. Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told advisers that any retaliation against the United States should be direct, proportional and carried out openly by Iran.

That is a startling departure for the Iranian leadership, which has typically cloaked its attacks behind the actions of proxies it has cultivated around the region. But in the fury generated by the killing of General Suleimani, a close ally and personal friend of the supreme leader, the ayatollah was apparently willing to cast aside those traditional cautions.

Warnings to United State citizens were sent by American diplomats not only in the Middle East but also in Asia.

The American Embassy in Beijing, citing “heightened tension in the Middle East,” advised American citizens on Tuesday to keep a low profile, be aware of their surroundings, stay alert in tourist locations, review personal security plans and ensure that their travel documents were updated and accessible. American citizens in South Korea said they had received similar warnings.

American diplomats in the Middle East began sending advisories earlier in the week.

American embassies across the region have been on heightened alert since Dec. 31, when militants, backed by the Iranian government, stormed the embassy in Baghdad. President Trump said the assault was organized by General Suleimani.

Last week, embassies in Baghdad and in Beirut, Lebanon, issued security alerts. Some airlines have halted flights to the Iraqi capital, including EgyptAir, which on Tuesday announced that its flights in and out of the city would stop from Wednesday through Friday.

The Iranian Parliament on Tuesday passed a bill declaring the American military’s top leadership to be “terrorists,” subject to Iranian sanctions, according to news reports in state media.

The bill aimed at the Pentagon’s top brass mirrored a Trump administration policy implemented in April that imposed economic and travel sanctions on the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as well as organizations, companies and individuals with ties to it.

That policy represented the first time an arm of a sovereign government had been designated a terrorist organization.

The Defense Department said the killing of General Suleimani was justified in part because of the corps’s terrorist designation. General Suleimani led the Quds Force, a unit of the Revolutionary Guards that conducted intelligence-gathering and attacks outside Iran’s borders.

An official letter from the Defense Department informing Iraq that American troops were “repositioning forces” for “movement out of Iraq” produced headlines around the world saying that an American withdrawal had begun.

But the letter, drafted by the United States military command in Baghdad, was sent out by mistake. The furor it caused prompted Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark A. Milley, to call an urgent news conference to deny the reports.

“It was an honest mistake,” General Milley told reporters at the Pentagon. “That letter is a draft, it was a mistake, it was unsigned, it should not have been released.”

Reporting was contributed by Megan Specia, Russell Goldman, Farnaz Fassihi, David D. Kirkpatrick, Melissa Eddy, Edward Wong, Lara Jakes, Peter Baker, Maggie Haberman, Alissa J. Rubin, Ben Hubbard, Mark Landler, Helene Cooper, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Adam Nossiter and Anton Troianovski.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Defense Secretary Says Iran Was Within Days of Attacking U.S. Interests: Live Updates

Here are the latest developments:

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_166799313_fc11a71a-d128-42d3-9a9e-b44afefc71b0-articleLarge Defense Secretary Says Iran Was Within Days of Attacking U.S. Interests: Live Updates Trump, Donald J Targeted Killings Suleimani, Qassim Khamenei, Ali Iran Diplomatic Service, Embassies and Consulates Defense and Military Forces

A vigil for General Suleimani in Tehran on Tuesday evening.Credit…Arash Khamooshi for The New York Times

Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said Tuesday that Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani was planning attacks to occur within days, laying out the administration’s legal justification for killing the Iranian commander in a drone strike.

Americans officials have been pressed over their claims that they targeted General Suleimani to forestall imminent attacks against U.S. interests.

At a Pentagon news conference Tuesday, Mr. Esper was asked whether attacks had been expected in days or weeks. “I think it’s more fair to say days,” the defense secretary said.

He declined to offer more details, nor to describe the intelligence underpinning that assessment.

Mr. Esper said General Suleimani, who was killed Friday in Iraq, “was in Baghdad to coordinate additional attacks.”

“He’s been conducting terrorist activities against us and our coalition partners for over 20 years,” Mr. Esper said. “He has the blood of hundreds of Americans, soldiers, on his hands and wounded thousands more. And then we could talk about all of the mayhem he’s caused against the Syrian people, the people of Lebanon. Even his own people in Iran.”

He added: “To somehow suggest that he wasn’t a legitimate target, I think, is fanciful. He was clearly on the battlefield.”

Mr. Esper also said that despite to an unsigned draft letter from the American military command in Baghdad on troop withdrawal and a unanimous vote by the Iraqi Parliament, the United States does not plan to pull its troops out of Iraq right now.

The Pentagon has made preparations in anticipation of Iranian retaliation, Mr. Esper said, and American troops in the Middle East are on a heightened state of alert.

“I think we should expect that they will retaliate in some way, shape or form,” Mr. Esper told a news conference at the Pentagon. “We’re prepared for any contingency and then we’ll respond appropriately to whatever they do.”

President Trump on Tuesday told reporters he would avoid targeting cultural sites in military attacks, walking back a threat he made against Iran days earlier.

Following a bipartisan and international uproar, Mr. Trump conceded that striking such sites would amount to a war crime. “If that’s what the law is, I like to obey the law,” he said in the Oval Office as he hosted the visiting prime minister of Greece, Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

His remarks to reporters came a day after Mark T. Esper, the secretary of defense, said striking Iranian cultural sites with no military value would be a war crime. That appeared to put him at odds with his boss.

“We will follow the laws of armed conflict,” the defense secretary said at a news briefing at the Pentagon on Monday when asked if cultural sites would be targeted.

On Saturday, Mr. Trump declared that the United States had identified 52 potential targets in Iran, some “important to Iran & the Iranian culture.”

None of them qualified as cultural sites, according to an administration official who asked not to be identified.

But the president’s threats and his initial refusal to back down in the face of criticism generated condemnation at home and abroad while deeply discomfiting American military leaders.

Reports reached Washington on Tuesday that an Iraqi military base where American troops are deployed was rocketed by Iran or its proxy forces.

But officials subsequently said the early report of an attack appeared to be false.

Bases in Iraq are routinely hit by rockets and mortar fire.

NATO is removing some of the trainers who have been working with Iraqi soldiers battling the Islamic State, in the wake of the American killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani.

On Monday, the NATO secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, announced that training had been temporarily suspended.

Describing security of NATO personnel, the organization said in a statement that it would be taking precautions — including “the temporary repositioning of some personnel to different locations both inside and outside Iraq.’’

NATO “maintains a presence in Iraq’’ and remains committed “to fighting international terrorism,” an official said, but refused to provide “operational details’’ about troop movements.

NATO has had roughly 500 soldiers doing the training.

Some NATO countries, like Canada, Germany and Croatia, have announced that they are moving troops out of Iraq altogether, at least temporarily, because of security concerns.

Canada is temporarily moving to Kuwait some of its 500 military personnel based in Iraq, the country’s top military official, Gen. Jonathan Vance said in a letter posted on Twitter on Tuesday.

Thirty of the 120 German soldiers in Iraq will be sent to Jordan and Kuwait, while others will remain positioned in the less volatile Kurdistan region, the German defense and foreign ministries said in a joint letter to the German parliament, the Bundestag.

“When the training is able to resume, the military personnel can be reinstated,” the letter said.

Croatia has also moved its small contingent of soldiers — 14 — from Iraq, with seven bound for Kuwait and the rest headed home, the Croatian Defense Ministry said. Slovakia has also removed its seven soldiers.

Some NATO troops began leaving Baghdad’s Green Zone in helicopters Monday night. The NATO training mission began in 2018 at Iraq’s request.

The killing of General Suleimani initially jolted oil markets, but the surge in prices has eased. On Tuesday afternoon, the Brent crude oil benchmark was down about 1.5 percent, to about $67.87 a barrel.

Analysts attribute the modesty of the increase to market skepticism that Iran will seek to hobble oil trading by, for example, closing the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow channel that many oil tankers have to pass through when they leave the Persian Gulf.

Oil flows have not been disrupted, so far, and the markets are “pricing in just a low probability of something happening,” said Bjornar Tonhaugen, head of oil market research at Rystad Energy, a research firm.

Video

Westlake Legal Group 07iran-briefing5-videoSixteenByNine3000-v2 Defense Secretary Says Iran Was Within Days of Attacking U.S. Interests: Live Updates Trump, Donald J Targeted Killings Suleimani, Qassim Khamenei, Ali Iran Diplomatic Service, Embassies and Consulates Defense and Military Forces

As Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani’s body was taken home for burial, a crush is believed to have killed dozens of mourners who crowded the streets of Kerman, Iran.CreditCredit…Atta Kenare/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Iranian state-run news outlets reported a deadly stampede during the funeral procession for General Suleimani in his hometown, Kerman, in southeastern Iran, on Tuesday.

Millions were reported to have flooded the town’s streets to witness the procession for the general, who was killed in an American drone strike in Baghdad last week. His death has fanned smoldering tensions between the United States and Iran, and fueled fears of a broader conflict.

The crowding and subsequent stampede in Kerman led to General Suleimani’s burial being postponed, state news media reported. It is still unclear when he will be buried.

Photographs of the procession showed an elaborately decorated truck carrying General Suleimani’s coffin through streets packed densely with mourners, many wearing black and carrying pictures of the dead commander.

“Unfortunately, as a result of a stampede, some of our compatriots have been injured and some have been killed during the funeral processions,” Pirhossein Koulivand, head of the Iranian emergency medical services, told the news agency IRIB.

Fifty-six people died and 213 were injured, the broadcaster IRIB reported on its website.

Images and videos posted on social media showed the aftermath of the crush, with emergency workers and bystanders attempting to resuscitate people lying on the ground. The lifeless bodies of other victims, jackets covering their faces, could be seen nearby.

The general’s body had been flown to Kerman after a funeral in Tehran on Monday that had brought even bigger crowds into the streets of the Iranian capital.

In a fiery speech made in General Suleimani’s hometown on Tuesday, the leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps vowed to “set ablaze” places where Americans and their allies live.

“We will take revenge — a revenge that will be tough, strong, decisive and finishing and will make them regret,” the corps’s leader, Hossein Salami, said on Tuesday in a front of a crowd of mourners. “We will set ablaze the place they like, and they know where it is.”

“Today, the seeds of hatred for the U.S. have been sown in the hearts of Muslims,” he added, according to Fars, an Iranian news agency associated with the Revolutionary Guards.

The pledge to seek vengeance echoed the rhetoric of many of the country’s leaders since General Suleimani’s killing on Friday. “Death to Israel,” the crowd chanted back, according to news reports. Israel, a close ally of the United States, has long been an enemy of Iran.

Thousands of mourners, dressed in black and carrying photos of General Suleimani, crowded the central square of Kerman, where the general’s body was taken for burial after a funeral procession on Monday in Tehran, the capital.

Before arriving in Kerman, the general’s remains were taken to the holy city of Qom, where thousands of residents came out, hoping for a chance to touch the coffin of a man the state has declared a martyr.

On Monday, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wept and offered prayers over General Suleimani’s coffin at the enormous state funeral. The ayatollah, Iran’s supreme leader, had a close relationship with the general, who was widely considered to be the country’s second-most powerful man.

General Suleimani’s successor swore revenge during Monday’s ceremony.

“God the almighty has promised to get his revenge, and God is the main avenger,” said Esmail Ghaani, the Iranian general who will succeed General Suleimani as head of the Quds Force, the foreign expeditionary arm of the Revolutionary Guards. “Certainly, actions will be taken,” he added.

With the American role in the Middle East in flux, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia flew to Damascus, Syria, on Tuesday for a victory lap of sorts.

Highlighting Russia’s newfound influence in the region, Mr. Putin met with President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, the strongman whose rule was largely rescued by Russian military intervention in Syria’s civil war.

Mr. Putin told Mr. al-Assad that “one can now confidently state that huge strides have been made in restoring Syrian statehood and the territorial integrity of the country,” a Kremlin statement said.

The Kremlin made no mention of Iran in its description of Mr. Putin’s visit, which had not been announced ahead of time. But Tehran was a crucial partner of Moscow in propping up Mr. al-Assad against Syrian rebels, including those backed by the United States.

Russia has called the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani of Iran illegal and expressed condolences to Tehran. On Wednesday, Mr. Putin is scheduled to meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey in Istanbul, with Syria and Libya on the agenda, according to the Kremlin.

President Emmanuel Macron of France spoke with the president of Iran, Hassan Rohani, by phone on Tuesday afternoon to plead for calm and de-escalation.

Mr. Macron called on Iran to “refrain from any step that might aggravate the escalation already underway,” according to a statement from the Élysée Palace, the seat of the French presidency.

France has tried to play the role of mediator between the Iranians and Americans for months, but in vain.

The French president also called on Iran to respect the 2015 nuclear accord, and to release two French academics, Fariba Adelkhah and Roland Marchal, who are being held there, a major source of tension between the two countries.

Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, said on Tuesday that he had been rejected for a visa to attend a Security Council meeting at the United Nations headquarters in New York, confirming reports from American news outlets that he would be barred.

Mr. Zarif, in an interview with the Iranian news outlet Press TV, said that his office had requested a visa weeks ago to participate in the meeting on Thursday, rejecting claims by American officials that they had not had time to process the application.

“The Americans are trying to create the impression that our request to attend the meeting was put forth following the assassination of General Suleimani,” Mr. Zarif said, according to the news outlet, adding, “The question everyone needs to be asking this lawbreaking administration is: What are they so scared of?”

Mr. Zarif later posted on Twitter about the situation, taking aim at Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and President Trump.

During a Tuesday morning news conference, Mr. Pompeo was asked about the visa but said he would not comment specifically on visa matters. He added that the United States would “comply with our obligations” under United Nations rules.

Robert C. O’Brien, the American national security adviser, was asked on “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday morning about the visa.

“I don’t think Secretary Pompeo thought that this was the right time for Mr. Zarif to come to the United States, and whenever he comes to New York, he spreads propaganda,” Mr. O’Brien said.

In August, the United States announced sanctions on Mr. Zarif, a seasoned diplomat who helped negotiate the 2015 nuclear deal.

Across the Middle East and the world, United States embassies warned Americans of potential attacks from Iran, as Iranian generals vowed to avenge the senior commander killed in an American drone strike.

In Jerusalem, the embassy told Americans on Monday to watch out for “mortars and rocket fire.” A day earlier, the United States Mission in Saudi Arabia had warned citizens to be prepared for “missile and drone attacks.”

The security alerts follow the targeted killing on Friday of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the leading figure in Iran’s foreign-facing intelligence and military operations.

At General Suleimani’s funeral in Tehran on Monday, military commanders promised vengeance. Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told advisers that any retaliation against the United States should be direct, proportional and carried out openly by Iran.

That is a startling departure for the Iranian leadership, which has typically cloaked its attacks behind the actions of proxies it has cultivated around the region. But in the fury generated by the killing of General Suleimani, a close ally and personal friend of the supreme leader, the ayatollah was apparently willing to cast aside those traditional cautions.

Warnings to United State citizens were sent by American diplomats not only in the Middle East but also in Asia.

The American Embassy in Beijing, citing “heightened tension in the Middle East,” advised American citizens on Tuesday to keep a low profile, be aware of their surroundings, stay alert in tourist locations, review personal security plans and ensure that their travel documents were updated and accessible. American citizens in South Korea said they had received similar warnings.

American diplomats in the Middle East began sending advisories earlier in the week.

American embassies across the region have been on heightened alert since Dec. 31, when militants, backed by the Iranian government, stormed the embassy in Baghdad. President Trump said the assault was organized by General Suleimani.

Last week, embassies in Baghdad and in Beirut, Lebanon, issued security alerts. Some airlines have halted flights to the Iraqi capital, including EgyptAir, which on Tuesday announced that its flights in and out of the city would stop from Wednesday through Friday.

The Iranian Parliament on Tuesday passed a bill declaring the American military’s top leadership to be “terrorists,” subject to Iranian sanctions, according to news reports in state media.

The bill aimed at the Pentagon’s top brass mirrored a Trump administration policy implemented in April that imposed economic and travel sanctions on the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as well as organizations, companies and individuals with ties to it.

That policy represented the first time an arm of a sovereign government had been designated a terrorist organization.

The Defense Department said the killing of General Suleimani was justified in part because of the corps’s terrorist designation. General Suleimani led the Quds Force, a unit of the Revolutionary Guards that conducted intelligence-gathering and attacks outside Iran’s borders.

An official letter from the Defense Department informing Iraq that American troops were “repositioning forces” for “movement out of Iraq” produced headlines around the world saying that an American withdrawal had begun.

But the letter, drafted by the United States military command in Baghdad, was sent out by mistake. The furor it caused prompted Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark A. Milley, to call an urgent news conference to deny the reports.

“It was an honest mistake,” General Milley told reporters at the Pentagon. “That letter is a draft, it was a mistake, it was unsigned, it should not have been released.”

Reporting was contributed by Megan Specia, Russell Goldman, Farnaz Fassihi, David D. Kirkpatrick, Melissa Eddy, Edward Wong, Lara Jakes, Peter Baker, Maggie Haberman, Alissa J. Rubin, Ben Hubbard, Mark Landler, Helene Cooper, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Adam Nossiter and Anton Troianovski.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Pompeo Says Iran Posed Continued Threat to the U.S.: Live Updates

Here are the latest developments:

Video

transcript

‘It Was the Right Decision’: Pompeo Defends Attack Against Suleimani

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addressed the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, but did not provide new details about what led to the drone strike against the Iranian commander.

So if you’re looking for imminence you need look no further than the days that led up to the strike that was taken against Suleimani. And then you in addition to that, have what we could clearly see were continuing efforts on behalf of this terrorist to build out a network of campaign activities that were going to lead, potentially, to the death of many more Americans. It was the right decision — we got it right — the Department of Defense did excellent work. All of the others were prepared for what might happen if Iran decided to make choices that were bad for the Iranian people, and then you saw more tactically just these last few days, the president’s response when the Iranians made a bad decision to kill an American. We hope — we hope they won’t make another bad decision just like that one.

Westlake Legal Group 07iran-briefing-sub3-videoSixteenByNine3000 Pompeo Says Iran Posed Continued Threat to the U.S.: Live Updates Trump, Donald J Targeted Killings Suleimani, Qassim Khamenei, Ali Iran Diplomatic Service, Embassies and Consulates Defense and Military Forces

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addressed the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, but did not provide new details about what led to the drone strike against the Iranian commander.CreditCredit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_135400473_22f64a81-8061-449f-a318-71d25012008e-articleLarge Pompeo Says Iran Posed Continued Threat to the U.S.: Live Updates Trump, Donald J Targeted Killings Suleimani, Qassim Khamenei, Ali Iran Diplomatic Service, Embassies and Consulates Defense and Military Forces

A training session in Baghdad for Iraqi police offers led by NATO forces in 2018.Credit…Ahmed Jalil/Epa-Efe, via Shutterstock

NATO is removing some of the trainers who have been working with Iraqi soldiers battling the Islamic State, in the wake of the American killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani.

On Monday, the NATO secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, announced that training had been temporarily suspended.

Describing security of NATO personnel, the organization said in a statement that it would be taking precautions — including “the temporary repositioning of some personnel to different locations both inside and outside Iraq.’’

NATO “maintains a presence in Iraq’’ and remains committed “to fighting international terrorism,” an official said, but refused to provide “operational details’’ about troop movements.

NATO has had roughly 500 soldiers doing the training.

Some NATO countries, like Germany and Croatia, have announced that they are moving troops out of Iraq altogether, at least temporarily, because of security concerns.

Thirty of the 120 German soldiers in Iraq will be sent to Jordan and Kuwait, while others will remain positioned in the less volatile Kurdistan region, the German defense and foreign ministries said in a joint letter to the German parliament, the Bundestag.

“When the training is able to resume, the military personnel can be reinstated,” the letter said.

Croatia has also moved its small contingent of soldiers — 14 — from Iraq, with seven bound for Kuwait and the rest headed home, the Croatian Defense Ministry said. Slovakia has also removed its seven soldiers.

Some NATO troops began leaving Baghdad’s Green Zone in helicopters Monday night. The NATO training mission began in 2018 at Iraq’s request.

Video

Westlake Legal Group 07iran-briefing5-videoSixteenByNine3000-v2 Pompeo Says Iran Posed Continued Threat to the U.S.: Live Updates Trump, Donald J Targeted Killings Suleimani, Qassim Khamenei, Ali Iran Diplomatic Service, Embassies and Consulates Defense and Military Forces

As Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani’s body was taken home for burial, a crush is believed to have killed dozens of mourners who crowded the streets of Kerman, Iran.CreditCredit…Atta Kenare/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

In an appearance on Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did not provide any new details on what prompted the killing of General Suleimani. But he said that Iran posed a threat to American lives.

Mr. Pompeo, a former C.I.A. director, said in a television appearance on Friday after the strike on General Suleimani that there had been intelligence showing an “imminent attack” on Americans and United States interests across the Middle East, which justified the deadly drone strike.

But since then, American officials have failed to provide any evidence to show what might have been targeted, or how soon an attack was expected.

“If you’re looking for imminence, you need look no further than the days that led up to the strike that was taken against Suleimani,” Mr. Pompeo told reporters at the State Department on Tuesday. “And then you, in addition to that, have what we can clearly see were continuing efforts on behalf of this terrorist to build out a network of campaign activities that were going to lead potentially to the death of many more Americans.”

Some Pentagon officials have said the intelligence did not show an imminent attack. The alerts on threat streams were not unusual, they said.

“It was the right decision, we got it right,” Mr. Pompeo said as reporters quizzed him on President Trump’s decision to carry out the attack.

Mr. Pompeo scoffed at the idea that General Suleimani was in Baghdad on a diplomatic mission and said, given his discussions with the Saudi defense minister on Monday, Riyadh also did not believe that.

“Anybody here believe that? Is there any history that would indicate it was remotely possible that this kind gentleman, this diplomat of great order, Qassim Suleimani traveled to Baghdad for the idea of conducting a peace mission?” Mr. Pompeo said sarcastically to journalists at the State Department. “I made you reporters laugh this morning, that’s fantastic.”

He added: “We’ve heard these same lies before. It is fundamentally false. He was not there on a diplomatic mission trying to resolve a problem.”

Iranian state-run news outlets reported a deadly stampede during the funeral procession for General Suleimani in his hometown, Kerman, in southeastern Iran, on Tuesday.

Millions were reported to have flooded the town’s streets to witness the procession for the general, who was killed in an American drone strike in Baghdad last week. His death has fanned smoldering tensions between the United States and Iran, and fueled fears of a broader conflict.

The crowding and subsequent stampede in Kerman led to General Suleimani’s burial being postponed, state news media reported. It is still unclear when he will be buried.

Photographs of the procession showed an elaborately decorated truck carrying General Suleimani’s coffin through streets packed densely with mourners, many wearing black and carrying pictures of the dead commander.

“Unfortunately, as a result of a stampede, some of our compatriots have been injured and some have been killed during the funeral processions,” Pirhossein Koulivand, head of the Iranian emergency medical services, told the news agency IRIB.

Fifty-six people died and 213 were injured, the broadcaster IRIB reported on its website.

Images and videos posted on social media showed the aftermath of the crush, with emergency workers and bystanders attempting to resuscitate people lying on the ground. The lifeless bodies of other victims, jackets covering their faces, could be seen nearby.

The general’s body had been flown to Kerman after a funeral in Tehran on Monday that had brought even bigger crowds into the streets of the Iranian capital.

In a fiery speech made in General Suleimani’s hometown on Tuesday, the leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps vowed to “set ablaze” places where Americans and their allies live.

“We will take revenge — a revenge that will be tough, strong, decisive and finishing and will make them regret,” the corps’s leader, Hossein Salami, said on Tuesday in a front of a crowd of mourners. “We will set ablaze the place they like, and they know where it is.”

“Today, the seeds of hatred for the U.S. have been sown in the hearts of Muslims,” he added, according to Fars, an Iranian news agency associated with the Revolutionary Guards.

The pledge to seek vengeance echoed the rhetoric of many of the country’s leaders since General Suleimani’s killing on Friday. “Death to Israel,” the crowd chanted back, according to news reports. Israel, a close ally of the United States, has long been an enemy of Iran.

Thousands of mourners, dressed in black and carrying photos of General Suleimani, crowded the central square of Kerman, where the general’s body was taken for burial after a funeral procession on Monday in Tehran, the capital.

Before arriving in Kerman, the general’s remains were taken to the holy city of Qom, where thousands of residents came out, hoping for a chance to touch the coffin of a man the state has declared a martyr.

On Monday, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wept and offered prayers over General Suleimani’s coffin at the enormous state funeral. The ayatollah, Iran’s supreme leader, had a close relationship with the general, who was widely considered to be the country’s second-most powerful man.

General Suleimani’s successor swore revenge during Monday’s ceremony, while chants of “Death to America” rang out from the crowds in the capital.

State-run news outlets reported that millions had gathered in Tehran, and images showed a sea of mourners, many wearing black and waving the Iranian flag.

“God the almighty has promised to get his revenge, and God is the main avenger,” said Esmail Ghaani, the Iranian general who will succeed General Suleimani as head of the Quds Force, the foreign expeditionary arm of the Revolutionary Guards. “Certainly, actions will be taken,” he added.

Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, said on Tuesday that he had been rejected for a visa to attend a Security Council meeting at the United Nations headquarters in New York, confirming reports from American news outlets that he would be barred.

Mr. Zarif, in an interview with the Iranian news outlet Press TV, said that his office had requested a visa weeks ago to participate in the meeting on Thursday, rejecting claims by American officials that they had not had time to process the application.

“The Americans are trying to create the impression that our request to attend the meeting was put forth following the assassination of General Suleimani,” Mr. Zarif said, according to the news outlet, adding, “The question everyone needs to be asking this lawbreaking administration is: What are they so scared of?”

Mr. Zarif later posted on Twitter about the situation, taking aim at Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and President Trump.

During a Tuesday morning news conference, Mr. Pompeo was asked about the visa but said he would not comment specifically on visa matters. He added that the United States would “comply with our obligations” under United Nations rules.

Robert C. O’Brien, the American national security adviser, was asked on “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday morning about the visa.

“I don’t think Secretary Pompeo thought that this was the right time for Mr. Zarif to come to the United States, and whenever he comes to New York, he spreads propaganda,” Mr. O’Brien said.

The New York meeting plans to focus on the topic of upholding the Charter of the United Nations, and comes as Iran and the United States are engaged in a heated back-and-forth over the American drone strike last week that killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani.

The office of the United Nations secretary general did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Mr. Zarif visited New York in September to attend the United Nations General Assembly, after claims that his visa had been intentionally delayed. In August, the United States announced sanctions on Mr. Zarif, a seasoned diplomat who helped negotiate the 2015 nuclear deal.

In Jerusalem and elsewhere across the Middle East, United States embassies warned Americans of potential attacks from Iran, as Iranian generals vowed to avenge the senior commander killed in an American drone strike.

In Jerusalem, the embassy told Americans on Monday to watch out for “mortars and rocket fire.” A day earlier, the United States Mission in Saudi Arabia had warned citizens to be prepared for “missile and drone attacks.”

The security alerts follow the targeted killing on Friday of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the leading figure in Iran’s foreign-facing intelligence and military operations.

At General Suleimani’s funeral in Tehran on Monday, military commanders promised vengeance. Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told advisers that any retaliation against the United States should be direct, proportional and carried out openly by Iran.

That is a startling departure for the Iranian leadership, which has typically cloaked its attacks behind the actions of proxies it has cultivated around the region. But in the fury generated by the killing of General Suleimani, a close ally and personal friend of the supreme leader, the ayatollah was apparently willing to cast aside those traditional cautions.

In Israel, the United States Embassy on Monday issued a security alert for the entire country and warned Americans of potential mortar and rocket attacks.

“Out of an abundance of caution, the embassy strongly encourages U.S. citizens to remain vigilant and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness, as security incidents, including rocket fire, often take place without warning,” the embassy said in an alert published on its website.

The United States Mission to Saudi Arabia on Sunday warned Americans in the kingdom to be aware of a “heightened risk of missile and drone attacks.”

American embassies across the region have been on heightened alert since Dec. 31, when militants, backed by the Iranian government, stormed the embassy in Baghdad. President Trump said the assault was organized by General Suleimani.

Last week, embassies in Baghdad and in Beirut, Lebanon, issued security alerts. Some airlines have halted flights to the Iraqi capital, including EgyptAir, which on Tuesday announced that its flights in and out of the city would stop from Wednesday through Friday.

The Iranian Parliament on Tuesday passed a bill declaring the American military’s top leadership to be “terrorists,” subject to Iranian sanctions, according to news reports in state media.

The bill aimed at the Pentagon’s top brass mirrored a Trump administration policy implemented in April that imposed economic and travel sanctions on the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as well as organizations, companies and individuals with ties to it.

That policy represented the first time an arm of a sovereign government had been designated a terrorist organization.

The Defense Department said the killing of General Suleimani was justified in part because of the corps’s terrorist designation. General Suleimani led the Quds Force, a unit of the Revolutionary Guards that conducted intelligence-gathering and attacks outside Iran’s borders.

Parliament expedited the bill through an emergency process, according to the semiofficial Iranian news agency Tasnim.

Also on Tuesday, Parliament allocated $223 million to the Quds Force to “avenge” General Suleimani’s death, according to Fars, the state news agency.

An official letter from the Defense Department informing Iraq that American troops were “repositioning forces” for “movement out of Iraq” produced headlines around the world saying that an American withdrawal had begun.

But the letter, drafted by the United States military command in Baghdad, was sent out by mistake. The furor it caused prompted Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark A. Milley, to call an urgent news conference to deny the reports.

“It was an honest mistake,” General Milley told reporters at the Pentagon. “That letter is a draft, it was a mistake, it was unsigned, it should not have been released.”

“There’s been no decision made to leave Iraq, period,” Mr. Esper said. “There is no decision to leave, nor did we issue any plans to leave.”

General Milley said military officials had begun making arrangements for a withdrawal in the event that a decision is made to pull out. The Iraqi Parliament voted on Sunday to expel American troops from the country, amid anger over the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani on Iraqi soil. But Iraq has not formally notified the United States that it must leave.

General Milley said the military was “moving forces around” to consolidate positions. Not only were they not withdrawing, he said, but more forces were arriving from Kuwait.

Mark T. Esper, the secretary of defense, said striking Iranian cultural sites with no military value would be a war crime, putting him at odds with President Trump, who has insisted that such places would be legitimate targets. The president’s threats generated condemnation at home and abroad while deeply discomfiting American military leaders who have made a career of upholding the laws of war.

“We will follow the laws of armed conflict,” the defense secretary said at a news briefing at the Pentagon on Monday when asked if cultural sites would be targeted, as the president had suggested over the weekend. When a reporter asked if that meant “no” because the laws of war prohibit targeting cultural sites, Mr. Esper agreed: “That’s the laws of armed conflict.”

The furor over the threat to Iranian antiquities was a classic controversy of Mr. Trump’s own creation, the apparent result of an impulsive threat and his refusal to back down in the face of criticism. While Mr. Trump declared on Saturday that the United States had identified 52 potential targets in Iran, none of them qualified as cultural sites, according to an administration official who asked not to be identified correcting the president.

Audrey Azoulay, the director-general of UNESCO, met with the Iranian ambassador to the organization on Monday to discuss the current situation, and issued a statement pointing to international agreements that condemn acts of destruction of cultural heritage.

“Ms. Azoulay stressed the universality of cultural and natural heritage as vectors of peace and dialogue between peoples, which the international community has a duty to protect and preserve for future generations,” UNESCO said in the statement.

Reporting was contributed by Megan Specia, Russell Goldman, Farnaz Fassihi, David D. Kirkpatrick, Melissa Eddy, Edward Wong, Lara Jakes, Peter Baker, Maggie Haberman, Alissa J. Rubin, Ben Hubbard, Mark Landler, Helene Cooper and Thomas Gibbons-Neff.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Live Updates: Pompeo Says Killing Suleimani Was ‘the Right Decision’

Here are the latest developments:

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_166790505_a258ccea-48ab-441f-8fba-a39a14565ec0-articleLarge Live Updates: Pompeo Says Killing Suleimani Was ‘the Right Decision’ Trump, Donald J Targeted Killings Suleimani, Qassim Khamenei, Ali Iran Diplomatic Service, Embassies and Consulates Defense and Military Forces

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a press briefing at the State Department on Tuesday.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday addressed some of the many questions surrounding the American airstrike that killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani and a number of other people traveling with him.

“It was the right decision, we got it right,” Mr. Pompeo said as reporters quizzed him about President Trump’s decision to carry out the attack on Friday. General Suleimani posed an immediate threat, according to Mr. Pompeo, who cited the death of an American contractor in a rocket attack several days earlier as proof.

Mr. Pompeo also defended the broader “maximum pressure” campaign that President Trump has vowed to carry out against Iran, saying that the strategy had diplomatic, economic and military components. He added that the president had been “unambiguous” in the remarks he made following the attacks.

“In the event that the Iranians make another bad choice, the president will respond in the way he did last week,” he said.

Mr. Pompeo also rejected the idea that General Suleimani had been visiting Iraq “on a diplomatic peace mission.” That suggestion was “fundamentally false,” he said.

Video

Westlake Legal Group 07iran-briefing5-videoSixteenByNine3000-v2 Live Updates: Pompeo Says Killing Suleimani Was ‘the Right Decision’ Trump, Donald J Targeted Killings Suleimani, Qassim Khamenei, Ali Iran Diplomatic Service, Embassies and Consulates Defense and Military Forces

As Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani’s body was taken home for burial, a crush is believed to have killed dozens of mourners who crowded the streets of Kerman, Iran.CreditCredit…Atta Kenare/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Iranian state-run news outlets reported a deadly stampede during the funeral procession for Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani in his hometown, Kerman, in southeastern Iran, on Tuesday.

Millions were reported to have flooded the town’s streets to witness the procession for the general, who was killed in an American drone strike in Baghdad last week. His death has fanned smoldering tensions between the United States and Iran, and fueled fears of a broader conflict.

The crowding and subsequent stampede in Kerman led to General Suleimani’s burial being postponed, state news media reported. It is still unclear when he will be buried.

Photographs of the procession showed an elaborately decorated truck carrying General Suleimani’s coffin through streets packed densely with mourners, many wearing black and carrying pictures of the dead commander.

“Unfortunately, as a result of a stampede, some of our compatriots have been injured and some have been killed during the funeral processions,” Pirhossein Koulivand, head of the Iranian emergency medical services, told the news agency IRIB.

He later told the news agency Fars, an outlet associated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps of Iran, that 40 people had been killed and another 213 injured.

Images and videos posted on social media showed the aftermath of the crush, with emergency workers and bystanders attempting to resuscitate people lying on the ground. The lifeless bodies of other victims, jackets covering their faces, could be seen nearby.

The general’s body had been flown to Kerman after a funeral in Tehran on Monday that had brought even bigger crowds into the streets of the Iranian capital.

In a fiery speech made in Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani’s hometown on Tuesday, the leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps vowed to “set ablaze” places where Americans and their allies live.

“We will take revenge — a revenge that will be tough, strong, decisive and finishing and will make them regret,” the corps’s leader, Hossein Salami, said on Tuesday in a front of a crowd of mourners. “We will set ablaze the place they like, and they know where it is.”

“Today, the seeds of hatred for the U.S. have been sown in the hearts of Muslims,” he added, according to Fars, an Iranian news agency associated with the Revolutionary Guards.

The pledge to seek vengeance echoed the rhetoric of many of the country’s leaders since General Suleimani’s killing on Friday. “Death to Israel,” the crowd chanted back, according to news reports. Israel, a close ally of the United States, has long been an enemy of Iran.

Thousands of mourners, dressed in black and carrying photos of General Suleimani, crowded the central square of Kerman, where the general’s body was taken for burial after a funeral procession on Monday in Tehran, the capital.

Before arriving in Kerman, the general’s remains were taken to the holy city of Qom, where thousands of residents came out, hoping for a chance to touch the coffin of a man the state has declared a martyr.

On Monday, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wept and offered prayers over General Suleimani’s coffin at the enormous state funeral. The ayatollah, Iran’s supreme leader, had a close relationship with the general, who was widely considered to be the country’s second-most powerful man.

General Suleimani’s successor swore revenge during Monday’s ceremony, while chants of “Death to America” rang out from the crowds in the capital.

State-run news outlets reported that millions had gathered in Tehran, and images showed a sea of mourners, many wearing black and waving the Iranian flag.

“God the almighty has promised to get his revenge, and God is the main avenger,” said Esmail Ghaani, the Iranian general who will succeed General Suleimani as head of the Quds Force, the foreign expeditionary arm of the Revolutionary Guards. “Certainly, actions will be taken,” he added.

Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, said on Tuesday that he had been rejected for a visa to attend a Security Council meeting at the United Nations headquarters in New York, confirming reports from American news outlets that he would be barred.

Mr. Zarif, in an interview with the Iranian news outlet Press TV, said that his office had requested a visa weeks ago to participate in the meeting on Thursday, rejecting claims by American officials that they had not had time to process the application.

“The Americans are trying to create the impression that our request to attend the meeting was put forth following the assassination of General Suleimani,” Mr. Zarif said, according to the news outlet, adding, “The question everyone needs to be asking this lawbreaking administration is: What are they so scared of?”

Mr. Zarif later posted on Twitter about the situation, taking aim at Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and President Trump.

During a Tuesday morning news conference, Mr. Pompeo was asked about the visa but said he would not comment specifically on visa matters. He added that the United States would “comply with our obligations” under United Nations rules.

Robert C. O’Brien, the American national security adviser, was asked on “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday morning about the visa.

“I don’t think Secretary Pompeo thought that this was the right time for Mr. Zarif to come to the United States, and whenever he comes to New York, he spreads propaganda,” Mr. O’Brien said.

The New York meeting plans to focus on the topic of upholding the Charter of the United Nations, and comes as Iran and the United States are engaged in a heated back-and-forth over the American drone strike last week that killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani.

The office of the United Nations secretary general did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Mr. Zarif visited New York in September to attend the United Nations General Assembly, after claims that his visa had been intentionally delayed. In August, the United States announced sanctions on Mr. Zarif, a seasoned diplomat who helped negotiate the 2015 nuclear deal.

In Jerusalem and elsewhere across the Middle East, United States embassies warned Americans of potential attacks from Iran, as Iranian generals vowed to avenge the senior commander killed in an American drone strike.

In Jerusalem, the embassy told Americans on Monday to watch out for “mortars and rocket fire.” A day earlier, the United States Mission in Saudi Arabia had warned citizens to be prepared for “missile and drone attacks.”

The security alerts follow the targeted killing on Friday of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the leading figure in Iran’s foreign-facing intelligence and military operations.

At General Suleimani’s funeral in Tehran on Monday, military commanders promised vengeance. Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told advisers that any retaliation against the United States should be direct, proportional and carried out openly by Iran.

That is a startling departure for the Iranian leadership, which has typically cloaked its attacks behind the actions of proxies it has cultivated around the region. But in the fury generated by the killing of General Suleimani, a close ally and personal friend of the supreme leader, the ayatollah was apparently willing to cast aside those traditional cautions.

In Israel, the United States Embassy on Monday issued a security alert for the entire country and warned Americans of potential mortar and rocket attacks.

“Out of an abundance of caution, the embassy strongly encourages U.S. citizens to remain vigilant and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness, as security incidents, including rocket fire, often take place without warning,” the embassy said in an alert published on its website.

The United States Mission to Saudi Arabia on Sunday warned Americans in the kingdom to be aware of a “heightened risk of missile and drone attacks.”

American embassies across the region have been on heightened alert since Dec. 31, when militants, backed by the Iranian government, stormed the embassy in Baghdad. President Trump said the assault was organized by General Suleimani.

Last week, embassies in Baghdad and in Beirut, Lebanon, issued security alerts. Some airlines have halted flights to the Iraqi capital, including EgyptAir, which on Tuesday announced that its flights in and out of the city would stop from Wednesday through Friday.

The Iranian Parliament on Tuesday passed a bill declaring the American military’s top leadership to be “terrorists,” subject to Iranian sanctions, according to news reports in state media.

The bill aimed at the Pentagon’s top brass mirrored a Trump administration policy implemented in April that imposed economic and travel sanctions on the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as well as organizations, companies and individuals with ties to it.

That policy represented the first time an arm of a sovereign government had been designated a terrorist organization.

The Defense Department said the killing of General Suleimani was justified in part because of the corps’s terrorist designation. General Suleimani led the Quds Force, a unit of the Revolutionary Guards that conducted intelligence-gathering and attacks outside Iran’s borders.

Parliament expedited the bill through an emergency process, according to the semiofficial Iranian news agency Tasnim.

Also on Tuesday, Parliament allocated $223 million to the Quds Force to “avenge” General Suleimani’s death, according to Fars, the state news agency.

An official letter from the Defense Department informing Iraq that American troops were “repositioning forces” for “movement out of Iraq” produced headlines around the world saying that an American withdrawal had begun.

But the letter, drafted by the United States military command in Baghdad, was sent out by mistake. The furor it caused prompted Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark A. Milley, to call an urgent news conference to deny the reports.

“It was an honest mistake,” General Milley told reporters at the Pentagon. “That letter is a draft, it was a mistake, it was unsigned, it should not have been released.”

“There’s been no decision made to leave Iraq, period,” Mr. Esper said. “There is no decision to leave, nor did we issue any plans to leave.”

General Milley said military officials had begun making arrangements for a withdrawal in the event that a decision is made to pull out. The Iraqi Parliament voted on Sunday to expel American troops from the country, amid anger over the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani on Iraqi soil. But Iraq has not formally notified the United States that it must leave.

General Milley said the military was “moving forces around” to consolidate positions. Not only were they not withdrawing, he said, but more forces were arriving from Kuwait.

Mark T. Esper, the secretary of defense, said striking Iranian cultural sites with no military value would be a war crime, putting him at odds with President Trump, who has insisted that such places would be legitimate targets. The president’s threats generated condemnation at home and abroad while deeply discomfiting American military leaders who have made a career of upholding the laws of war.

“We will follow the laws of armed conflict,” the defense secretary said at a news briefing at the Pentagon on Monday when asked if cultural sites would be targeted, as the president had suggested over the weekend. When a reporter asked if that meant “no” because the laws of war prohibit targeting cultural sites, Mr. Esper agreed: “That’s the laws of armed conflict.”

The furor over the threat to Iranian antiquities was a classic controversy of Mr. Trump’s own creation, the apparent result of an impulsive threat and his refusal to back down in the face of criticism. While Mr. Trump declared on Saturday that the United States had identified 52 potential targets in Iran, none of them qualified as cultural sites, according to an administration official who asked not to be identified correcting the president.

Audrey Azoulay, the director-general of UNESCO, met with the Iranian ambassador to the organization on Monday to discuss the current situation, and issued a statement pointing to international agreements that condemn acts of destruction of cultural heritage.

“Ms. Azoulay stressed the universality of cultural and natural heritage as vectors of peace and dialogue between peoples, which the international community has a duty to protect and preserve for future generations,” UNESCO said in the statement.

Germany announced on Tuesday that it would pull a contingent of its troops out of Iraq, given “recent developments.”

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the German defense minister, said over the weekend that about 120 soldiers taking part in the international coalition to defeat the Islamic State would be confined to their bases but would remain in the region.

On Sunday, the German Army’s inspector general decided that a planned rotation of troops to forward bases in Iraq would not be taking place, the Defense Ministry said on Twitter.

But another contingent of several dozen German soldiers normally stationed in Baghdad and in another Iraqi city, Taji, as part of a training mission were being pulled out, Roderick Kiesewetter, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee in Parliament, told the public broadcaster Deutschlandfunk on Tuesday.

“It is just a temporary reduction,” he said. “That means about 30 to 40 troops will be moved to Jordan, where we have reconnaissance jets and tankers. So our soldiers remain in the region.”

Reporting was contributed by Megan Specia, Russell Goldman, Farnaz Fassihi, David D. Kirkpatrick, Melissa Eddy, Edward Wong, Peter Baker, Maggie Haberman, Alissa J. Rubin, Ben Hubbard, Mark Landler, Helene Cooper and Thomas Gibbons-Neff.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Live Updates: Deadly Stampede at Funeral Procession for Iranian General

Here’s what you need to know:

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_166777353_12391b28-a36e-4d8f-af89-55ce37794e66-articleLarge Live Updates: Deadly Stampede at Funeral Procession for Iranian General Trump, Donald J Targeted Killings Suleimani, Qassim Khamenei, Ali Iran Diplomatic Service, Embassies and Consulates Defense and Military Forces

Mourners gathered around a vehicle carrying the coffin of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani in Kerman, his hometown, on Tuesday.Credit…Atta Kenare/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Iranian state-run news outlets reported a deadly stampede during the funeral procession for Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani in his hometown, Kerman, in southeastern Iran, on Tuesday.

Millions were reported to have flooded the town’s streets to witness the procession for the general, who was killed in an American drone strike in Baghdad last week. His death has fanned smoldering tensions between the United States and Iran, and fueled fears of a broader conflict.

The crowding and subsequent stampede in Kerman led to General Suleimani’s final burial being postponed, state news media reported. It is still unclear when he will be buried.

Photographs of the procession showed an elaborately decorated truck carrying General Suleimani’s coffin through streets packed densely with mourners, many wearing black and carrying pictures of the dead commander.

“Unfortunately, as a result of a stampede, some of our compatriots have been injured and some have been killed during the funeral processions,” Pirhossein Koulivand, head of the Iranian emergency medical services, told the news agency IRIB.

He later told the news agency Fars, an outlet associated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps of Iran, that 40 people had been killed and another 213 injured.

Images and videos posted on social media showed the aftermath of the crush, with emergency workers and bystanders attempting to resuscitate people lying on the ground. The lifeless bodies of other victims, jackets covering their faces, could be seen nearby.

The general’s body had been flown to Kerman after a funeral in Tehran on Monday that had brought even bigger crowds into the streets of the Iranian capital.

In a fiery speech made moments before Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani was buried in his hometown, the leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps vowed to “set ablaze” places where Americans and their allies live.

“We will take revenge; a revenge that will be tough, strong, decisive and finishing and will make them regret,” the paramilitary group’s leader, Hossein Salami, said Tuesday in a front of a crowd of mourners. “We will set ablaze the place they like, and they know where it is.”

“Today, the seeds of hatred for the U.S. have been sown in the hearts of Muslims,” he said, according to Fars, an Iranian news agency associated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The pledge to seek vengeance echoed the rhetoric of many of the country’s leaders since General Suleimani’s killing on Friday. “Death to Israel,” the crowd chanted back, according to news reports. Israel, a close ally of the United States, has long been an enemy of Iran.

Thousands of mourners, dressed in black and carrying photos of General Suleimani, crowded the central square of Kerman, where the general’s body was taken for burial after a funeral procession Monday in Tehran, the capital.

Before arriving in Kerman, the general’s remains were taken to the holy city of Qom, where thousands of residents came out, hoping for a chance to touch the coffin of a man the state has declared a martyr.

On Monday, Ayatollah Khamenei wept and offered prayers over General Suleimani’s coffin at the massive state funeral. The ayatollah had a close relationship with the general, who was widely considered to be the second most powerful man in Iran.

General Suleimani’s successor swore revenge during Monday’s ceremony, while chants of “Death to America” rang out from the crowds in the capital.

State-run news outlets reported that millions had gathered in Tehran, and images showed a sea of mourners, many wearing black and waving the Iranian flag.

“God the almighty has promised to get his revenge, and God is the main avenger,” said Esmail Ghaani, the Iranian general who will succeed General Suleimani as head of the Quds Force, the foreign expeditionary arm of the Revolutionary Guards Corps. “Certainly, actions will be taken,” he added.

Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, said on Tuesday that he had been rejected for a visa to attend a Security Council meeting to be held at the United Nations headquarters in New York, confirming reports from American news outlets that he would be barred.

Mr. Zarif, in an interview with the Iranian news outlet Press TV, said that his office had requested a visa weeks ago to participate in the meeting on Thursday, rejecting claims by American officials that they had not had time to process the application.

“The Americans are trying to create the impression that our request to attend the meeting was put forth following the assassination of General Suleimani,” Mr. Zarif said, according to the news outlet, adding, “The question everyone needs to be asking this lawbreaking administration is: What are they so scared of?”

Mr. Zarif later posted on Twitter about the situation, taking aim at Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and President Trump.

Robert C. O’Brien, the national security adviser, was asked on Fox & Friends on Tuesday morning about why Mr. Zarif’s visa was denied.

“I don’t think Secretary Pompeo thought that this was the right time for Mr. Zarif to come to the United States, and whenever he comes to New York, he spreads propaganda,” Mr. O’Brien said.

The New York meeting plans to focus on the topic of upholding the Charter of the United Nations, and comes as Iran and the United States are engaged in a heated back-and-forth over the American drone strike last week that killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani.

Neither the office of the United Nations secretary general nor the State Department replied immediately to requests for comment.

Mr. Zarif visited New York in September to attend the United Nations General Assembly, after claims that his visa had been intentionally delayed. In August, the United States announced sanctions on Mr. Zarif, a seasoned diplomat who helped negotiate the 2015 nuclear deal.

In Jerusalem and elsewhere across the Middle East, United States embassies warned Americans of potential attacks from Iran, as Iranian generals vowed to avenge the senior commander killed in an American drone strike.

In Jerusalem, the embassy told Americans on Monday to watch out for “mortars and rocket fire.” A day earlier, the United States Mission in Saudi Arabia had warned citizens to be prepared for “missile and drone attacks.”

The security alerts follow the targeted killing on Friday of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the leading figure in Iran’s foreign-facing intelligence and military operations.

At General Suleimani’s funeral in Tehran on Monday, military commanders promised vengeance. Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told advisers that any retaliation against the United States should be direct, proportional and carried out openly by Iran.

That is a startling departure for the Iranian leadership, which has typically cloaked its attacks behind the actions of proxies it has cultivated around the region. But in the fury generated by the killing of General Suleimani, a close ally and personal friend of the supreme leader, the ayatollah was apparently willing to cast aside those traditional cautions.

In Israel, the United States Embassy on Monday issued a security alert for the entire country and warned Americans of potential mortar and rocket attacks.

“Out of an abundance of caution, the Embassy strongly encourages U.S. citizens to remain vigilant and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness, as security incidents, including rocket fire, often take place without warning,” the embassy said in an alert published on its website.

The United States Mission to Saudi Arabia on Sunday warned Americans in the kingdom to be aware of a “heightened risk of missile and drone attacks.”

American embassies across the region have been on heightened alert since Dec. 31, when militants, backed by the Iranian government, stormed the embassy in Baghdad. President Trump said the assault was organized by General Suleimani.

Last week, embassies in Beirut, Lebanon, and Baghdad issued security alerts.

The Iranian Parliament on Tuesday passed a bill declaring the American military’s top leadership to be “terrorists,” subject to Iranian sanctions, according to news reports in state media.

The bill aimed at the Pentagon’s top brass mirrored a Trump administration policy implemented in April that imposed economic and travel sanctions on the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as well as organizations, companies and individuals with ties to it.

That policy represented the first time an arm of a sovereign government had been designated a terrorist organization.

The Defense Department justified the killing of General Suleimani in part because of the Guards Corps’ terrorist designation. General Suleimani led the paramilitary organization’s Quds Force, which conducted intelligence-gathering and attacks outside of Iran’s borders.

Parliament expedited the bill through an emergency process, according to the semiofficial Tasnim News Agency.

Also on Tuesday, Parliament allocated $223 million to the Quds Force to “avenge” General Suleimani’s death, according to Fars, the state news agency.

Mark T. Esper, the secretary of defense, said striking Iranian cultural sites with no military value would be a war crime, putting him at odds with President Trump, who has insisted that such places would be legitimate targets. The president’s threats generated condemnation at home and abroad while deeply discomfiting American military leaders who have made a career of upholding the laws of war.

“We will follow the laws of armed conflict,” the defense secretary said at a news briefing at the Pentagon on Monday when asked if cultural sites would be targeted, as the president had suggested over the weekend. When a reporter asked if that meant “no” because the laws of war prohibit targeting cultural sites, Mr. Esper agreed: “That’s the laws of armed conflict.”

The furor over the threat to Iranian antiquities was a classic controversy of Mr. Trump’s own creation, the apparent result of an impulsive threat and his refusal to back down in the face of criticism. While Mr. Trump declared on Saturday that the United States had identified 52 potential targets in Iran, none of them qualified as cultural sites, according to an administration official who asked not to be identified correcting the president.

Audrey Azoulay, the director-general of UNESCO, met with the Iranian ambassador to the organization on Monday to discuss the current situation, and issued a statement pointing to international agreements that condemn acts of destruction of cultural heritage.

“Ms. Azoulay stressed the universality of cultural and natural heritage as vectors of peace and dialogue between peoples, which the international community has a duty to protect and preserve for future generations,” UNESCO said in the statement.

Germany announced on Tuesday that it would pull a contingent of its troops out of Iraq, given “recent developments.”

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the German defense minister, said over the weekend that about 120 soldiers taking part in the international coalition to defeat the Islamic State would be confined to their bases but would remain in the region.

On Sunday, the German Army’s inspector general decided that a planned rotation of troops to forward bases in Iraq would not be taking place, the Defense Ministry said on Twitter.

But another contingent of several dozen German soldiers normally stationed in Baghdad and in another Iraqi city, Taji, as part of a training mission were being pulled out, Roderick Kiesewetter, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee in Parliament, told the public broadcaster Deutschlandfunk on Tuesday.

“It is just a temporary reduction,” he said. “That means about 30 to 40 troops will be moved to Jordan, where we have reconnaissance jets and tankers. So our soldiers remain in the region.”

Reporting was contributed by Megan Specia, Russell Goldman, Farnaz Fassihi, David D. Kirkpatrick, Melissa Eddy, Peter Baker, Maggie Haberman, Alissa J. Rubin, Ben Hubbard, Mark Landler, Helene Cooper and Thomas Gibbons-Neff.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Deadly Stampede at Funeral Procession for Iranian General: Live Updates

Here’s what you need to know:

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_166777353_12391b28-a36e-4d8f-af89-55ce37794e66-articleLarge Deadly Stampede at Funeral Procession for Iranian General: Live Updates Trump, Donald J Targeted Killings Suleimani, Qassim Khamenei, Ali Iran Diplomatic Service, Embassies and Consulates Defense and Military Forces

Mourners gathered around a vehicle carrying the coffin of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani in Kerman, his hometown, on Tuesday.Credit…Atta Kenare/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Iranian state-run news outlets reported a deadly stampede during the funeral procession for Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani in his hometown, Kerman, in southeastern Iran, on Tuesday.

Millions were reported to have flooded the town’s streets to witness the procession for the general, who was killed in an American drone strike in Baghdad last week. His death has fanned smoldering tensions between the United States and Iran, and fueled fears of a broader conflict.

Pirhossein Koulivand, head of the Iranian emergency medical services, did not immediately detail the number of victims, according to several of the outlets, but at least 35 people may have been killed, one news service reported, according to The Associated Press.

Images and videos posted on social media showed the aftermath of the crush, with emergency workers and bystanders attempting to resuscitate people lying on the ground. The lifeless bodies of other victims, jackets covering their faces, could be seen nearby.

The general’s body had been flown to Kerman after a funeral in Tehran on Monday that had brought even bigger crowds into the streets of the Iranian capital.

In a fiery speech made moments before Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani was buried in his hometown, the leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps vowed to “set ablaze” places where Americans and their allies live.

“We will take revenge; a revenge that will be tough, strong, decisive and finishing and will make them regret,” the paramilitary group’s leader, Hossein Salami, said Tuesday in a front of a crowd of mourners. “We will set ablaze the place they like, and they know where it is.”

“Today, the seeds of hatred for the U.S. have been sown in the hearts of Muslims,” he said, according to Fars, the state news agency.

The pledge to seek vengeance echoed the rhetoric of many of the country’s leaders since General Suleimani’s killing on Friday. “Death to Israel,” the crowd chanted back, according to news reports. Israel, a close ally of the United States, has long been an enemy of Iran.

Thousands of mourners, dressed in black and carrying photos of General Suleimani, crowded the central square of Kerman, where the general’s body was taken for burial after a funeral procession Monday in Tehran, the capital.

Before arriving in Kerman, the general’s remains were taken to the holy city of Qom, where thousands of residents came out, hoping for a chance to touch the coffin of a man the state has declared a martyr.

On Monday, Ayatollah Khamenei wept and offered prayers over General Suleimani’s coffin at the massive state funeral. The ayatollah had a close relationship with the general, who was widely considered to be the second most powerful man in Iran.

General Suleimani’s successor swore revenge during Monday’s ceremony, while chants of “Death to America” rang out from the crowds in the capital.

State-run news outlets reported that millions had gathered in Tehran, and images showed a sea of mourners, many wearing black and waving the Iranian flag.

“God the almighty has promised to get his revenge, and God is the main avenger,” said Esmail Ghaani, the Iranian general who will succeed General Suleimani as head of the Quds Force, the foreign expeditionary arm of the Revolutionary Guards Corps. “Certainly, actions will be taken,” he added.

In Jerusalem and elsewhere across the Middle East, United States embassies warned Americans of potential attacks from Iran, as Iranian generals vowed to avenge the senior commander killed in an American drone strike.

In Jerusalem, the embassy told Americans on Monday to watch out for “mortars and rocket fire.” A day earlier, the United States Mission in Saudi Arabia had warned citizens to be prepared for “missile and drone attacks.”

The security alerts follow the targeted killing on Friday of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the leading figure in Iran’s foreign-facing intelligence and military operations.

At General Suleimani’s funeral in Tehran on Monday, military commanders promised vengeance. Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told advisers that any retaliation against the United States should be direct, proportional and carried out openly by Iran.

That is a startling departure for the Iranian leadership, which has typically cloaked its attacks behind the actions of proxies it has cultivated around the region. But in the fury generated by the killing of General Suleimani, a close ally and personal friend of the supreme leader, the ayatollah was apparently willing to cast aside those traditional cautions.

In Israel, the United States Embassy on Monday issued a security alert for the entire country and warned Americans of potential mortar and rocket attacks.

“Out of an abundance of caution, the Embassy strongly encourages U.S. citizens to remain vigilant and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness, as security incidents, including rocket fire, often take place without warning,” the embassy said in an alert published on its website.

The United States Mission to Saudi Arabia on Sunday warned Americans in the kingdom to be aware of a “heightened risk of missile and drone attacks.”

American embassies across the region have been on heightened alert since Dec. 31, when militants, backed by the Iranian government, stormed the embassy in Baghdad. President Trump said the assault was organized by General Suleimani.

Last week, embassies in Beirut, Lebanon, and Baghdad issued security alerts.

The Iranian Parliament on Tuesday passed a bill declaring the American military’s top leadership to be “terrorists,” subject to Iranian sanctions, according to news reports in state media.

The bill aimed at the Pentagon’s top brass mirrored a Trump administration policy implemented in April that imposed economic and travel sanctions on the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as well as organizations, companies and individuals with ties to it.

That policy represented the first time an arm of a sovereign government had been designated a terrorist organization.

The Defense Department justified the killing of General Suleimani in part because of the Guards Corps’ terrorist designation. General Suleimani led the paramilitary organization’s Quds Force, which conducted intelligence-gathering and attacks outside of Iran’s borders.

Parliament expedited the bill through an emergency process, according to the semi-official Tasnim News Agency.

Also on Tuesday, Parliament allocated $223 million to the Quds Force to “avenge” General Suleimani’s death, according to Fars, the state news agency.

Mark T. Esper, the secretary of defense, said striking Iranian cultural sites with no military value would be a war crime, putting him at odds with President Trump, who has insisted that such places would be legitimate targets. The president’s threats generated condemnation at home and abroad while deeply discomfiting American military leaders who have made a career of upholding the laws of war.

“We will follow the laws of armed conflict,” the defense secretary said at a news briefing at the Pentagon on Monday when asked if cultural sites would be targeted, as the president had suggested over the weekend. When a reporter asked if that meant “no” because the laws of war prohibit targeting cultural sites, Mr. Esper agreed: “That’s the laws of armed conflict.”

The furor over the threat to Iranian antiquities was a classic controversy of Mr. Trump’s own creation, the apparent result of an impulsive threat and his refusal to back down in the face of criticism. While Mr. Trump declared on Saturday that the United States had identified 52 potential targets in Iran, none of them qualified as cultural sites, according to an administration official who asked not to be identified correcting the president.

Audrey Azoulay, the director-general of UNESCO, met with the Iranian ambassador to the organization on Monday to discuss the current situation, and issued a statement pointing to international agreements that condemn acts of destruction of cultural heritage.

“Ms. Azoulay stressed the universality of cultural and natural heritage as vectors of peace and dialogue between peoples, which the international community has a duty to protect and preserve for future generations,” UNESCO said in the statement.

Reporting was contributed by Megan Specia, Russell Goldman, Farnaz Fassihi, David D. Kirkpatrick, Peter Baker, Maggie Haberman, Alissa J. Rubin, Ben Hubbard, Mark Landler, Helene Cooper and Thomas Gibbons-Neff.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com