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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump, Donald J" (Page 85)

Trump Threatens Iranian Cultural Sites, and Warns of Sanctions on Iraq

Westlake Legal Group 05dc-trump-SUB2-facebookJumbo-v2 Trump Threatens Iranian Cultural Sites, and Warns of Sanctions on Iraq War Crimes, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Suleimani, Qassim Pompeo, Mike Iran

WASHINGTON — President Trump on Sunday evening doubled down on his claim that he would target Iranian cultural sites if Iran retaliated for the targeted killing of one of its top generals, and threatened “very big sanctions” on Iraq if American troops are forced to leave the country.

Aboard Air Force One on his way back from his holiday trip to Florida, Mr. Trump reiterated to reporters the spirit of a Twitter post on Saturday, when he said the United States government had identified 52 sites for retaliation against Iran if there were a response to Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani’s death. Some, he tweeted, were of “cultural” significance.

Such a move could be considered a war crime under international laws, but Mr. Trump said Sunday that he was undeterred.

“They’re allowed to kill our people. They’re allowed to torture and maim our people. They’re allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people,” the president said. “And we’re not allowed to touch their cultural site? It doesn’t work that way.”

The remarks came just hours after the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, walked back Mr. Trump’s tweets and said that whatever was done in any military engagement with Iran would be within the bounds of the law.

Mr. Trump also sounded fatalistic about the possibility of an Iranian escalation.

“If it happens, it happens,” he said. “If they do anything, there will be major retaliation”

As the president spoke, six advisers crowded to the side of Mr. Trump’s desk in the cabin, near the doorway: Robert O’Brien, his national security adviser; Jared Kushner, his son-in-law and senior adviser; Ivanka Trump, his daughter and senior adviser; Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff; Hogan Gidley, a deputy press secretary; and Dan Scavino, the White House social media director. The president had a football game on the television affixed to the wall.

Mr. Trump also vowed to impose sanctions on Iraq if a move to evict American military personnel from the country takes place, a possibility heightened by the Iraqi Parliament’s passage Sunday of a measure to expel foreign troops in response to the killing of General Suleimani. That strike took place in Iraq, in a move that officials saw as violating the country’s sovereignty.

“We have a very extraordinarily expensive air base that’s there,” Mr. Trump said of Iraq. “It cost billions of dollars to build. Long before my time. We’re not leaving unless they pay us back for it.”

Mr. Trump then escalated his language, saying: “If they do ask us to leave, if we don’t do it in a very friendly basis, we will charge them sanctions like they’ve never seen before ever. It’ll make Iranian sanctions look somewhat tame.”

“If there’s any hostility, that they do anything we think is inappropriate, we are going to put sanctions on Iraq, very big sanctions on Iraq,” Mr. Trump added.

In making his warning, the president was threatening sanctions on a country for forcing out American troops whom he himself had pledged to bring home during his 2016 presidential campaign.

The threat also underscored the growing fallout from the president’s decision regarding General Suleimani.

The president said in tweets and in a statement on Friday about the strike that General Suleimani’s “reign of terror” was over, and he spoke about the hundreds of deaths for which the commander was responsible.

Officials have said the United States was retaliating against Iran, first for the death of an American contractor, and then for attacks at the American Embassy in Iraq led by pro-Iranian forces.

Officials have also said they had intelligence that General Suleimani was involved in planning “imminent” attacks on American interests in other countries, a statement that some government officials have questioned.

Mr. Trump told reporters that he might discuss making some of the intelligence available to a skeptical public nearly 17 years after the war in Iraq began on the basis of intelligence that proved not to be credible.

Mr. Trump also insisted he had been personally tracking General Suleimani for about 18 months. “He was leading his country down a very bad, dangerous path,” he said.

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

Trump Reiterates Threat to Target Iranian Cultural Sites

Westlake Legal Group 05dc-trump-facebookJumbo Trump Reiterates Threat to Target Iranian Cultural Sites War Crimes, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Suleimani, Qassim Pompeo, Mike Iran

WASHINGTON — President Trump on Sunday evening doubled down on his claim that he would target Iranian cultural sites if Iran retaliated for the targeted killing of one of its top generals, breaking with his secretary of state over the issue.

Aboard Air Force One on his way back from his holiday trip to Florida, Mr. Trump reiterated to reporters traveling with him the spirit of a Twitter post on Saturday, when he said that the United States government had identified 52 sites for retaliation against Iran if there were a response to Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani’s death. Some, he tweeted, were of “cultural” significance.

Such a move could be considered a war crime under international laws, but Mr. Trump said Sunday that he was undeterred.

“They’re allowed to kill our people. They’re allowed to torture and maim our people. They’re allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people,” the president said. “And we’re not allowed to touch their cultural site? It doesn’t work that way.”

The remarks came just hours after the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, walked back Mr. Trump’s tweets and said that whatever was done in any military engagement with Iran would be within the bounds of the law.

Mr. Trump also vowed to impose sanctions on Iraq if a move to evict American military personnel from the country takes place, a possibility heightened by the Iraqi Parliament’s passage Sunday of a measure to expel foreign troops. And Mr. Trump said that he had been tracking General Suleimani for many months.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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

Trump Reiterates Threat to Target Iranian Cultural Sites

Westlake Legal Group 05dc-trump-facebookJumbo Trump Reiterates Threat to Target Iranian Cultural Sites War Crimes, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Suleimani, Qassim Pompeo, Mike Iran

WASHINGTON — President Trump on Sunday evening doubled down on his claim that he would target Iranian cultural sites if Iran retaliated for the targeted killing of one of its top generals, breaking with his secretary of state over the issue.

Aboard Air Force One on his way back from his holiday trip to Florida, Mr. Trump reiterated to reporters traveling with him the spirit of a Twitter post on Saturday, when he said that the United States government had identified 52 sites for retaliation against Iran if there were a response to Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani’s death. Some, he tweeted, were of “cultural” significance.

Such a move could be considered a war crime under international laws, but Mr. Trump said Sunday that he was undeterred.

“They’re allowed to kill our people. They’re allowed to torture and maim our people. They’re allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people,” the president said. “And we’re not allowed to touch their cultural site? It doesn’t work that way.”

The remarks came just hours after the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, walked back Mr. Trump’s tweets and said that whatever was done in any military engagement with Iran would be within the bounds of the law.

Mr. Trump also vowed to impose sanctions on Iraq if a move to evict American military personnel from the country takes place, a possibility heightened by the Iraqi Parliament’s passage Sunday of a measure to expel foreign troops. And Mr. Trump said that he had been tracking General Suleimani for many months.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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

Iran Challenges Trump, Announcing End of Nuclear Restrictions

Westlake Legal Group 05dc-nukes-facebookJumbo Iran Challenges Trump, Announcing End of Nuclear Restrictions Zarif, Mohammad Javad Trump, Donald J Suleimani, Qassim Nuclear Weapons Iran Embargoes and Sanctions Cyberwarfare and Defense Bolton, John R

When President Trump withdrew the United States from the Iran nuclear deal in May 2018, he justified his unilateral action by saying the accord was flawed, in part because the major restrictions on Iran ended after 15 years, when Tehran would be free to produce as much nuclear fuel as it wanted.

But now, instead of buckling to American pressure, Iran declared on Sunday that those restrictions are over — a decade ahead of schedule. Mr. Trump’s gambit has effectively backfired.

Iran’s announcement essentially sounded the death knell of the 2015 nuclear agreement. And it largely re-creates conditions that led Israel and the United States to consider destroying Iran’s facilities a decade ago, again bringing them closer to the potential of open conflict with Tehran that was avoided by the accord.

Iran did stop short of abandoning the entire deal on Sunday, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and its foreign minister held open the possibility that his nation would return to its provisions in the future — if Mr. Trump reversed course and lifted the sanctions he has imposed since withdrawing from the accord.

That, at least, appeared to hold open the possibility of a diplomatic off-ramp to the major escalation in hostilities since the United States killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the second most powerful official in Iran and head of the Quds Force.

But some leading experts declared that the effort to contain Iran’s nuclear ambitions through diplomacy was over. “It’s finished,” David Albright, the president of the Institute for Science and International Security, a private group in Washington that tracks nuclear proliferation, said in an interview. “If there’s no limitation on production, then there is no deal.”

To some of the Iran deal’s most vociferous critics, the announcement was a welcome development. Among them was John R. Bolton, the former national security adviser who was ousted by Mr. Trump last summer because, the president said, he was concerned Mr. Bolton was forcing him into conflict with Iran.

“Another good day,” Mr. Bolton wrote on Twitter. “Iran rips the mask off the idea it ever fully complied with the nuclear deal, or that it made a strategic decision to forswear nuclear weapons. Now, it’s on to the real job: effectively preventing the ayatollahs from getting such a capability.”

But to much of the world — especially the Europeans, Russians and Chinese, who were partners in the nuclear deal — Mr. Trump’s decision to back out of the accord led to the crisis.

The president’s unilateral action started a sequence of events — the re-imposition of American sanctions, Iran’s gradual return to nuclear activity over the past year, actions that led to the targeting of General Suleimani — that could be speeding the two countries toward conflict.

Iran’s announcement means that it will no longer observe any limits on the number of centrifuges it can install to enrichment uranium or the level to which it enriches it.

Iran did not say if it would resume production at 20 percent, a major leap toward bomb-grade uranium, or beyond. But by allowing inspectors to remain in the country, as the foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said Tehran would, Iran will have witnesses to its own “maximum pressure” campaign against the West.

The primary American objective in the 2015 agreement was to keep Iran at least a year away from getting enough fuel to fashion a warhead.

Even before Sunday’s announcement, a series of steps by Tehran discarding elements of the agreement had reduced that warning time to a matter of months. The risk now is that uncertainties about how close the Iranians are to their first weapon will grow, and perhaps become fodder for calls in the United States and Israel to take military action.

In essence, Iran is saying it now can produce whatever kind of nuclear fuel it wants, including bomb-grade material.

Now, the United States and Israel must confront the big question: Will they take military or cyberwarfare action to try to cripple those production facilities?

More than a decade ago the United States and Israel cooperated on a mission code-named Olympic Games, the most sophisticated cyberattack in history, to get into the computer code driving the centrifuges at the Natanz nuclear enrichment site and make them blow up.

The Iranians recovered, and rebuilt the facility, tripling the number of centrifuges that existed before the cyberattack and opening a new centrifuge center deep in a mountain called Fordow, which is far harder to bomb. Israel repeatedly considered bombing the facilities, but was stopped by the United States and internal warnings about starting a war.

Now, after the killing of General Suleimani, those restraints could evaporate.

The nuclear deal also laid out unusually stringent scrutiny for all of Iran’s main nuclear facilities — “including daily access” if international atomic inspectors requested it.

Sunday’s announcement left unclear whether Tehran intends to obey that heightened scrutiny or will lower its adherence to the standard level. In a Twitter post, Mr. Zarif, the foreign minister, said “Iran’s full cooperation” with the inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency “will continue.”

Mr. Albright of the Institute for Science and International Security said that reduced visibility into the Iranian nuclear program could end up increasing fears of worst-case scenarios — and, perhaps, miscalculations — related to military strikes and war.

“They were added to gain comfort,” Mr. Albright said of the strengthened inspections. “Having daily access reduced suspicions and the chance of conspiracy theories taking root.”

For example, Mr. Albright said, new ambiguity could darken views in the West on how long it would take Iran to make enough fuel for a single atomic bomb — what nuclear experts call “breakout.” Such estimates are based on the number and efficiency of the whirling machines that concentrate a rare isotope of uranium to levels high enough to make weapon fuel.

The Iran deal was designed to keep Tehran a year or more away from getting enough highly enriched uranium to fashion a single warhead — what international inspectors call “a significant quantity.”

Mr. Albright said his group’s worst-case estimate for an Iranian breakout is four to five months. But some experts, he added, have estimated as little as two months.

He noted that the international inspectors still would have regular access to Iran’s nuclear facilities as part of the safeguard agreements of nuclear nations.

But if “the high level of transparency that the nuclear deal provided” should come to an end, Mr. Albright added, “it could undermine confidence” in the West’s assessments of Iran’s nuclear acts and intentions.

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

Iran Shifts on a Landmark Nuclear Deal: Live Updates

Here’s what you need to know:

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_166683702_fa6ce22c-ea1e-4b7d-8f28-31fd79cb9bd9-articleLarge Iran Shifts on a Landmark Nuclear Deal: Live Updates United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Suleimani, Qassim Quds Force Middle East Iraq Iran Defense and Military Forces

A protest outside the United States Consulate in Istanbul on Sunday against the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani.Credit…Lefteris Pitarakis/Associated Press

Iran’s government said it was no longer abiding by a commitment it made under the 2015 nuclear deal and it would no longer limit its enrichment of uranium.

The announcement came after Iran’s National Security Council held an emergency meeting on Sunday to discuss the country’s nuclear policy in the aftermath of Maj. Gen. Qassim Soleimani’s assassination.

The statement said: “The Islamic Republic of Iran will end its final limitations in the nuclear deal, meaning the limitation in the number of centrifuges. Therefore Iran’s nuclear program will have no limitations in production including enrichment capacity and percentage and number of enriched uranium and research and expansion.”

But the government said Iran would continue its cooperation with International Atomic Agency and return to the nuclear deal if the sanctions against it were removed and Iran’s interests were guaranteed.

The announcement followed several steps by Iran to move away from the terms of the agreement, nearly two years after President Trump withdrew the United States from the deal. Since that renunciation, the Trump administration has imposed severe sanctions aimed at crippling Iran’s economy.

The nuclear agreement had ended many economic sanctions on Iran in return for its verifiable pledge to use nuclear power peacefully. The European parties to the deal, including Britain, France and Germany, had struggled to preserve the agreement amid rising tensions between Washington and Tehran.

Iran’s statement Sunday did not include details about its enrichment ambitions. And the country did not say it was expelling the inspectors who monitor its nuclear program.

Mark Fitzpatrick, a nuclear expert on Iran and associate fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, wrote on Twitter that the announcement was “ambiguous,” with room for “both negotiation and escalation.”

Iraqi lawmakers voted 170-0 on Sunday in favor of expelling American troops from their country, just days after a United States drone strike killed the leader of Iran’s elite Quds Force on Iraqi soil.

The vote was not final, many lawmakers did not attend the session and Iraq’s current caretaker government cannot pass the necessary legislation to oust the American military presence. But Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi drafted the language and submitted the bill to Parliament, leaving little doubt about his support.

The drone strike that killed the leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force, Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, at the Baghdad airport on Friday also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy head of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces, a coalition of Iranian-backed militias.

The attack was viewed in Iraq as a violation of the nation’s sovereignty, and the country’s Foreign Ministry said on Sunday that it had summoned the American ambassador in Baghdad.

Iraq’s Parliament was divided over demands from angry citizens to expel American troops. Many of its 328 members, primarily Kurds and Sunnis, did not attend Sunday’s session and did not vote.

Iranian officials reacted to the vote with congratulatory messages and said General Soleimani’s death had delivered a huge victory over the United States.

Hesameddin Ashena, a top adviser to President Hassan Rouhani, in a Twitter post, said: “Expanding friendship with our neighbors and domestic unity are the best gifts for protecting our national security. America and Israel are the only winners of a rift between neighbors.”

Asked about the vote on Sunday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the United States would continue to battle the Islamic State. “It is the United States that is prepared to help the Iraqi people get what it is they deserve and continue our mission there to take down terrorism from ISIS and others in the region,” he said in an interview on the CBS program “Face the Nation.”

The American-led coalition in Iraq and Syria said on Sunday that it was pausing its yearslong mission of attacking the Islamic State and training local forces in both countries as United States forces braced for retaliation from Iran over the killing of its top military commander.

A statement from the American command pointed to recent attacks on Iraqi and American bases, one of which killed an American contractor last month. “We have therefore paused these activities, subject to continuous review,” it said of the fight against ISIS.

After the killing last week of the commander, Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani — who was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of troops over the years — the approximately 5,200 troops in Iraq and several hundred in Syria are focused on fortifying their outposts.

The assassination of General Suleimani removed the leader of one of the Islamic State’s most effective opponents. He had been responsible for building up the alliance of Iran-backed militias that played a significant role in driving the militants out of their strongholds in Syria and Iraq.

Echoing President Trump’s remarks the day before, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned on Sunday that the United States could attack Iran itself if leaders there took hostile actions against American interests in the aftermath of the drone strike that killed a top general.

“I’ve been part of the discussion and planning process — everything I’ve seen about how we will respond with great force and great vigor if the Iranian leadership makes a bad decision,” Mr. Pompeo said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “We hope that they won’t, but when they do, America will respond.”

In appearances on five television news shows on Sunday morning, Mr. Pompeo underscored Mr. Trump’s message the previous day that the United States had chosen sites to attack within Iran if Tehran ordered assaults on American assets or citizens in retaliation for a drone strike that killed General Suleimani in Baghdad.

He tweeted on Saturday that the United States had pinpointed 52 targets in Iran if it retaliated for the killing, prompting Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, to say on Twitter that “targeting cultural sites is a war crime.”

Mr. Zarif added, “whether kicking or screaming, end of U.S. malign presence in West Asia has begun.”

Mr. Trump said on Sunday that “media posts” would serve as notification to Congress about a potential strike.

Mr. Pompeo also blamed the 2015 nuclear deal for the rising hostilities. He told CNN that “this war kicked off” when the Obama administration entered into the agreement. Though Tehran had been abiding by the terms of the deal, Mr. Pompeo said, the agreement gave Iran “free rein” to expand its regional activities.

In protest over that latest threat, Iran on Sunday summoned the Swiss envoy representing American interests in Tehran, Reuters reported.

Video

Westlake Legal Group 05iraq-briefing-sub-videoSixteenByNine3000 Iran Shifts on a Landmark Nuclear Deal: Live Updates United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Suleimani, Qassim Quds Force Middle East Iraq Iran Defense and Military Forces

The body of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani was brought back to Iran. Mourners flooded the streets, weeping and holding up posters of the general, as his coffin moved through the crowds.CreditCredit…Mohammad Taghi/Tasnim News, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Hundreds of thousands of mourners poured into the streets of Iran to pay their respects to Maj. General Qassim Suleimani on Sunday, one day after joint funerals were held in Baghdad for the slain Quds Force leader and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a powerful militia leader in Iraq and a close adviser to the general.

Both men were killed by an American drone strike early Friday at Baghdad’s airport, inflaming tensions between Washington and Tehran and raising fears that more violence would follow.

President Trump said he had ordered the airstrikes not just as retaliation for past attacks on Americans, but also to prevent “imminent and sinister attacks” on more Americans. But Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and its president, Hassan Rouhani, both promised that the country would take “revenge” for the killing.

Iraq’s most influential Shiite religious leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, sent a letter of condolence to Iran’s supreme leader that praised General Soleimani for helping fight the Islamic State and stabilize Iraq over the past decade.

“The unique role he played in many years battling ISIS in Iraq and all his efforts and sacrifices related to this are unforgettable,” Ayatollah al-Sistani wrote.

Iran’s regional reach was visible during the services in Baghdad, which were as close to a state ceremony in Iraq as any since the fall of Saddam Hussein. Many mourners were members of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces, militias that came together to fight the Islamic State — and the most powerful of which are affiliated with Iran.

Tens of thousands of pro-Iranian fighters marched through Baghdad, waving flags and chanting that “revenge is coming” to the United States. And Ayatollah Khamenei visited General Suleimani’s family on Friday to pay his condolences.

In a television interview with Iran’s state television, the general’s son Hossien said, “My father always used to tell us, ‘I’m seeking martyrdom.’ He realized his dream.”

Mr. al-Muhandis, one of Iran’s top lieutenants in Iraq, was accused of playing a role in embassy bombings in Kuwait in the 1980s and funneling weapons to pro-Iranian militias in the 2000s. Many Iraqis saw him as a hero for his role in the battle against the Islamic State.

The leader of Hezbollah, the Islamist movement backed by Iran, warned in a speech Sunday that the killing of General Suleimani would only motivate Iran’s allies in the Middle East to strike harder against the United States and Israel.

“Assassinating General Suleimani means targeting the entire axis of resistance,” said the militant leader, Hassan Nasrallah, speaking via video feed at a memorial service. “The United States will leave our region humiliated. When U.S. troops leave the region in coffins, Washington will realize it has lost, and Trump will realize that he has lost the election.”

Mr. Nasrallah vowed to target American bases, soldiers and Marines — a response he called “retribution, a fair one” — but took care to add that he was “not talking about the American people at all.”

Hezbollah, a militia and political party based in Lebanon, is perhaps the most formidable of the network of proxy forces Iran has built up around the Middle East, which also includes pro-Iranian militias in Iraq.

The State Department has classified Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, and the militia has battled and skirmished repeatedly with Israel. It maintained close ties with General Suleimani, and was now mourning him as a hero over the weekend

Mr. Nasrallah said that he had met with the general on Wednesday in Beirut, where General Suleimani had stopped before flying to Baghdad. The group released what appeared to be a photo of the two men meeting.

On Sunday, Mr. Nasrallah said that the general’s death marked “the start of a new stage, not just for Iraq or Iran, but for the entire region” — a stage he warned would be awash in anti-American violence.

As the United States has escalated its conflict with Iran, many in the generation of Americans who have grown up since the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, have become alarmed by the prospect of being swept up in an extended conflict.

Over high school lunch tables, teenagers speak of World War III. When they get home, they tearfully ask their parents whether they could be drafted. Social media feeds have exploded with predictions of military action and wisecracking memes about end times.

With an all-volunteer military fighting the wars in Afghanistan and the Middle East that have been simmering since they were toddlers, many young men had grown used to thinking of the longstanding requirement that they register for the draft as a mere bureaucratic formality. “Now it’s like, what exactly did we sign up for?” said Adrian Flynn, a high school senior in New York who turned 18 in October.

And demonstrators took to the streets of cities across the United States over the weekend to protest the killing of an Iranian general and the possibility that it could lead to yet another war.

“Unless the people of the United States rise up and stop it, this war will engulf the whole region and could quickly turn into a global conflict of unpredictable scope and potentially the gravest consequences,” said a statement by the coalition behind the protests. That group included Act Now to Stop War and End Racism, an antiwar coalition, and Code Pink, an antiwar organization led by women.

More than 80 protests were organized, in places like Washington, Chicago, San Francisco, St. Louis, Miami and Philadelphia. Marchers in Times Square in New York chanted, “U.S. out of the Middle East.”

Organizers had begun calling for nationwide protests early last week, before the drone strike that killed General Suleimani. They had already been fearful of the possible effects of rising tensions between the United States and Iran in recent months.

Even as Western allies said they had been given no warning about the United States’ killing of General Suleimani, Britain’s foreign minister, Dominic Raab, said on Sunday that America had a right to self-defense in killing the Iranian military commander.

Asked in an interview with the BBC whether the killing was legal, Mr. Raab said, “There is a right of self-defense.”

“It was General Suleimani’s job description to engage proxies and militias,” Mr. Raab said, “to attack Western countries that were legitimately there.”

Describing General Suleimani as a “regional menace,” he said he did not agree that the killing was an act of war — a label that Iran’s United Nations ambassador used to describe the killing, and which analysts have said is applicable.

Mr. Raab said he had spoken to Iraq’s prime minister and president to urge a de-escalation of tensions in the region after the drone killing.

President Emmanuel Macron of France spoke by telephone with President Trump on Sunday, according to a statement from the French president’s office, and expressed solidarity with allies “in light of the attacks carried out in recent weeks against the coalition in Iraq,” his office said in the statement.

Mr. Macron also expressed concerns about “destabilizing activities of the Quds force under General Qassem Soleimani,” his office said, and urged Iran avoid “taking any measures that could lead to an escalation in the situation and destabilizing the region.”

In Germany, a government spokeswoman also expressed sympathy for the United States’ position. “The American action was a reaction to a series of military provocations for which Iran is responsible,” the spokeswoman, Ulrike Demmer, said at a news conference on Friday, according to Reuters.

“We also see with great concern Iran’s activities in the region,” she said, adding that Berlin would aim to de-escalate the tensions.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had criticized Europes response to the killing of General Suleimani, telling Fox News on Friday night that “the Europeans haven’t been as helpful as I wish that they could be.”

Reporting was contributed by Alissa J. Rubin, Ben Hubbard, Falih Hassan, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Eric Schmitt, Vivian Yee, David D. Kirkpatrick, Edward Wong, Tess Felder, Yonette Joseph and Mariel Padilla.

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

Iran Ends Commitment to Landmark Nuclear Deal: Live Updates

Here’s what you need to know:

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_166683702_fa6ce22c-ea1e-4b7d-8f28-31fd79cb9bd9-articleLarge Iran Ends Commitment to Landmark Nuclear Deal: Live Updates United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Suleimani, Qassim Quds Force Middle East Iraq Iran Defense and Military Forces

A protest outside the United States Consulate in Istanbul on Sunday against the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani.Credit…Lefteris Pitarakis/Associated Press

Iran’s government said it was ending all its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal and that it would no longer limit its enrichment of uranium.

The announcement came after Iran’s National Security Council held an emergency meeting on Sunday to discuss the country’s nuclear policy in the aftermath of Maj. Gen. Qassim Soleimani’s assassination.

The statement said: “The Islamic Republic of Iran will end its final limitations in the nuclear deal, meaning the limitation in the number of centrifuges. Therefore Iran’s nuclear program will have no limitations in production including enrichment capacity and percentage and number of enriched uranium and research and expansion.”

But the government said Iran would continue its cooperation with International Atomic Agency and return to the nuclear deal if the sanctions against it were removed and Iran’s interests were guaranteed.

The announcement followed several steps by Iran to move away from the terms of the agreement, nearly two years after President Trump withdrew the United States from the deal. Since that renunciation, the Trump administration has imposed severe sanctions aimed at crippling Iran’s economy.

The nuclear agreement had ended many economic sanctions on Iran in return for its verifiable pledge to use nuclear power peacefully. The European parties to the deal, including Britain, France and Germany, had struggled to preserve the agreement amid rising tensions between Washington and Tehran.

Iran’s statement Sunday did not include details about its enrichment ambitions. And the country did not say it was expelling the inspectors who monitor its nuclear program.

Mark Fitzpatrick a nuclear expert on Iran and associate fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, wrote on Twitter that the announcement was “ambiguous,” with room for “both negotiation and escalation.”

Iraqi lawmakers voted 170-0 on Sunday in favor of expelling American troops from their country, just days after a United States drone strike killed the leader of Iran’s elite Quds Force on Iraqi soil.

The vote was not final, many lawmakers did not attend the session and Iraq’s current caretaker government cannot pass the necessary legislation to oust the American military presence. But Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi drafted the language and submitted the bill to Parliament, leaving little doubt about his support.

The drone strike that killed the leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force, Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, at the Baghdad airport on Friday also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy head of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces, a coalition of Iranian-backed militias.

The attack was viewed in Iraq as a violation of the nation’s sovereignty, and the country’s Foreign Ministry said on Sunday that it had summoned the American ambassador in Baghdad.

Iraq’s Parliament was divided over demands from angry citizens to expel American troops. Many of its 328 members, primarily Kurds and Sunnis, did not attend Sunday’s session and did not vote.

Iranian officials reacted to the vote with congratulatory messages and said General Soleimani’s death had delivered a huge victory over the United States.

Hesameddin Ashena, a top adviser to President Hassan Rouhani, in a Twitter post, said: “Expanding friendship with our neighbors and domestic unity are the best gifts for protecting our national security. America and Israel are the only winners of a rift between neighbors.”

Asked about the vote on Sunday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the United States would continue to battle the Islamic State. “It is the United States that is prepared to help the Iraqi people get what it is they deserve and continue our mission there to take down terrorism from ISIS and others in the region,” he said in an interview on the CBS program “Face the Nation.”

The American-led coalition in Iraq and Syria said on Sunday that it was pausing its yearslong mission of attacking the Islamic State and training local forces in both countries as United States forces braced for retaliation from Iran over the killing of its top military commander.

A statement from the American command pointed to recent attacks on Iraqi and American bases, one of which killed an American contractor last month. “We have therefore paused these activities, subject to continuous review,” it said of the fight against ISIS.

After the killing last week of the commander, Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani — who was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of troops over the years — the approximately 5,200 troops in Iraq and several hundred in Syria are focused on fortifying their outposts.

The assassination of General Suleimani removed the leader of one of the Islamic State’s most effective opponents. He had been responsible for building up the alliance of Iran-backed militias that played a significant role in driving the militants out of their strongholds in Syria and Iraq.

Video

Westlake Legal Group 05iraq-briefing-sub-videoSixteenByNine3000 Iran Ends Commitment to Landmark Nuclear Deal: Live Updates United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Suleimani, Qassim Quds Force Middle East Iraq Iran Defense and Military Forces

The body of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani was brought back to Iran. Mourners flooded the streets, weeping and holding up posters of the general, as his coffin moved through the crowds.CreditCredit…Mohammad Taghi/Tasnim News, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Hundreds of thousands of mourners poured into the streets of Iran to pay their respects to Maj. General Qassim Suleimani on Sunday, one day after joint funerals were held in Baghdad for the slain Quds Force leader and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a powerful militia leader in Iraq and a close adviser to the general.

Both men were killed by an American drone strike early Friday at Baghdad’s airport, inflaming tensions between Washington and Tehran and raising fears that more violence would follow.

President Trump said he had ordered the airstrikes not just as retaliation for past attacks on Americans, but also to prevent “imminent and sinister attacks” on more Americans. But Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and its president, Hassan Rouhani, both promised that the country would take “revenge” for the killing.

Iraq’s most influential Shiite religious leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, sent a letter of condolence to Iran’s supreme leader that praised General Soleimani for helping fight the Islamic State and stabilize Iraq over the past decade.

“The unique role he played in many years battling ISIS in Iraq and all his efforts and sacrifices related to this are unforgettable,” Ayatollah al-Sistani wrote.

Iran’s regional reach was visible during the services in Baghdad, which were as close to a state ceremony in Iraq as any since the fall of Saddam Hussein. Many mourners were members of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces, militias that came together to fight the Islamic State — and the most powerful of which are affiliated with Iran.

Tens of thousands of pro-Iranian fighters marched through Baghdad, waving flags and chanting that “revenge is coming” to the United States. And Ayatollah Khamenei visited General Suleimani’s family on Friday to pay his condolences.

In a television interview with Iran’s state television, the general’s son Hossien said, “My father always used to tell us, ‘I’m seeking martyrdom.’ He realized his dream.”

Mr. al-Muhandis, one of Iran’s top lieutenants in Iraq, was accused of playing a role in embassy bombings in Kuwait in the 1980s and funneling weapons to pro-Iranian militias in the 2000s. Many Iraqis saw him as a hero for his role in the battle against the Islamic State.

After President Trump tweeted on Sunday that the United States had pinpointed 52 targets in Iran if there were to be any retaliation for the killing, Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said on Twitter that “targeting cultural sites is a war crime.”

Mr. Zarif said that the “end of U.S. malign presence in West Asia has begun” after an American airstrike that killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

Yet Mr. Trump also threatened on Twitter to hit Iran “harder than they have ever been hit before.”

“The United States just spent Two Trillion Dollars on Military Equipment,” he said. “We are the biggest and by far the BEST in the World! If Iran attacks an American Base, or any American, we will be sending some of that brand-new beautiful equipment their way … and without hesitation!”

In protest over that latest threat, Iran on Sunday summoned the Swiss envoy representing American interests in Tehran, Reuters reported.

The leader of Hezbollah, the Islamist movement backed by Iran, warned in a speech Sunday that the killing of General Suleimani would only motivate Iran’s allies in the Middle East to strike harder against the United States and Israel.

“Assassinating General Suleimani means targeting the entire axis of resistance,” said the militant leader, Hassan Nasrallah, speaking via video feed at a memorial service. “The United States will leave our region humiliated. When U.S. troops leave the region in coffins, Washington will realize it has lost, and Trump will realize that he has lost the election.”

Mr. Nasrallah vowed to target American bases, soldiers and Marines — a response he called “retribution, a fair one” — but took care to add that he was “not talking about the American people at all.”

Hezbollah, a militia and political party based in Lebanon, is perhaps the most formidable of the network of proxy forces Iran has built up around the Middle East, which also includes pro-Iranian militias in Iraq.

The State Department has classified Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, and the militia has battled and skirmished repeatedly with Israel. It maintained close ties with General Suleimani, and was now mourning him as a hero over the weekend

Mr. Nasrallah said that he had met with the general on Wednesday in Beirut, where General Suleimani had stopped before flying to Baghdad. The group released what appeared to be a photo of the two men meeting.

On Sunday, Mr. Nasrallah said that the general’s death marked “the start of a new stage, not just for Iraq or Iran, but for the entire region” — a stage he warned would be awash in anti-American violence.

The harsh rhetoric continued to fly on Sunday, Iran’s information and telecommunications minister calling President Trump is “a terrorist in a suit.”

The minister, Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi, wrote on Twitter: “Like ISIS, Like Hitler, Like Genghis! They all hate cultures. Trump is a terrorist in a suit. He will learn history very soon that NOBODY can defeat ‘the Great Iranian Nation & Culture.’”

And in Iran’s Parliament on Sunday, lawmakers chanted, “Death to America!” in unison as a protest over the United States’ killing of the two Iranian commanders.

As the United States has escalated its conflict with Iran, many in the generation of Americans who have grown up since the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, have become alarmed by the prospect of being swept up in an extended conflict.

Over high school lunch tables, teenagers speak of World War III. When they get home, they tearfully ask their parents whether they could be drafted. Social media feeds have exploded with predictions of military action and wisecracking memes about end times.

With an all-volunteer military fighting the wars in Afghanistan and the Middle East that have been simmering since they were toddlers, many young men had grown used to thinking of the longstanding requirement that they register for the draft as a mere bureaucratic formality. “Now it’s like, what exactly did we sign up for?” said Adrian Flynn, a high school senior in New York who turned 18 in October.

And demonstrators took to the streets of cities across the United States over the weekend to protest the killing of an Iranian general and the possibility that it could lead to yet another war.

“Unless the people of the United States rise up and stop it, this war will engulf the whole region and could quickly turn into a global conflict of unpredictable scope and potentially the gravest consequences,” said a statement by the coalition behind the protests. That group included Act Now to Stop War and End Racism, an antiwar coalition, and Code Pink, an antiwar organization led by women.

More than 80 protests were organized, in places like Washington, Chicago, San Francisco, St. Louis, Miami and Philadelphia. Marchers in Times Square in New York chanted, “U.S. out of the Middle East.”

Organizers had begun calling for nationwide protests early last week, before the drone strike that killed General Suleimani. They had already been fearful of the possible effects of rising tensions between the United States and Iran in recent months.

Reporting was contributed by Alissa J. Rubin, Ben Hubbard, Falih Hassan, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Eric Schmitt, Vivian Yee, David D. Kirkpatrick, Edward Wong, Tess Felder, Yonette Joseph and Mariel Padilla.

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

Iran and U.S. Updates: Iraqi I Parliament Endorses Ousting of U.S. Troops

Here’s what you need to know:

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_166683702_fa6ce22c-ea1e-4b7d-8f28-31fd79cb9bd9-articleLarge Iran and U.S. Updates: Iraqi I Parliament Endorses Ousting of U.S. Troops United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Suleimani, Qassim Quds Force Middle East Iraq Iran Defense and Military Forces

A protest outside the United States Consulate in Istanbul on Sunday against the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani.Credit…Lefteris Pitarakis/Associated Press

Iraqi lawmakers voted 170-0 on Sunday in favor of expelling American troops from their country, just days after a United States drone strike killed the leader of Iran’s elite Quds Force on Iraqi soil.

Although the vote is not final until the draft bill is signed by Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi of Iraq, and Parliament was more divided over the issue than the vote tally might make it appear, Mr. Madhi had indicated earlier on Sunday that he would do so.

The drone strike that killed the leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force, Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, at the Baghdad airport on Friday also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy head of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces, a coalition of Iranian-backed militias.

The attack was viewed in Iraq as a violation of the nation’s sovereignty, and the country’s Foreign Ministry said on Sunday that it had summoned the American ambassador in Baghdad.

Iraq’s Parliament was divided over demands from angry citizens to expel American troops. Many of its 328 members, primarily Kurds and Sunnis, did not attend Sunday’s session and did not vote.

Iranian officials reacted to the vote with congratulatory messages and said General Soleimani’s death had delivered a huge victory over the United States.

Hesameddin Ashena, a top adviser to President Hassan Rouhani, in a Twitter post, said: “Expanding friendship with our neighbors and domestic unity are the best gifts for protecting our national security. America and Israel are the only winners of a rift between neighbors.”

Asked about the vote on Sunday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the United States would continue to battle the Islamic State. “It is the United States that is prepared to help the Iraqi people get what it is they deserve and continue our mission there to take down terrorism from ISIS and others in the region,” he said in an interview on the CBS program “Face the Nation.”

The American-led coalition in Iraq and Syria said on Sunday that it was pausing its yearslong mission of attacking the Islamic State and training local forces in both countries as United States forces braced for retaliation from Iran over the killing of its top military commander.

A statement from the American command pointed to recent attacks on Iraqi and American bases, one of which killed an American contractor last month. “We have therefore paused these activities, subject to continuous review,” it said of the fight against ISIS.

After the killing last week of the commander, Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani — who was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of troops over the years — the approximately 5,200 troops in Iraq and several hundred in Syria are focused on fortifying their outposts.

The assassination of General Suleimani removed the leader of one of the Islamic State’s most effective opponents. He had been responsible for building up the alliance of Iran-backed militias that played a significant role in driving the militants out of their strongholds in Syria and Iraq.

Video

Westlake Legal Group 05Iran-iraq1-videoSixteenByNineJumbo1600 Iran and U.S. Updates: Iraqi I Parliament Endorses Ousting of U.S. Troops United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Suleimani, Qassim Quds Force Middle East Iraq Iran Defense and Military Forces

The body of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani was brought back to Iran. Mourners flooded the streets, weeping and holding up posters of the general, as his coffin moved through the crowds.CreditCredit…Hossein Mersadi/EPA, via Shutterstock

Hundreds of thousands of mourners poured into the streets of Iran to pay their respects to Maj. General Qassim Suleimani on Sunday, one day after joint funerals were held in Baghdad for the slain Quds Force leader and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a powerful militia leader in Iraq and a close adviser to the general.

Both men were killed by an American drone strike early Friday at Baghdad’s airport, inflaming tensions between Washington and Tehran and raising fears that more violence would follow.

President Trump said he had ordered the airstrikes not just as retaliation for past attacks on Americans, but also to prevent “imminent and sinister attacks” on more Americans. But Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and its president, Hassan Rouhani, both promised that the country would take “revenge” for the killing.

Iraq’s most influential Shiite religious leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, sent a letter of condolence to Iran’s supreme leader that praised General Soleimani for helping fight the Islamic State and stabilize Iraq over the past decade.

“The unique role he played in many years battling ISIS in Iraq and all his efforts and sacrifices related to this are unforgettable,” Ayatollah al-Sistani wrote.

Iran’s regional reach was visible during the services in Baghdad, which were as close to a state ceremony in Iraq as any since the fall of Saddam Hussein. Many mourners were members of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces, militias that came together to fight the Islamic State — and the most powerful of which are affiliated with Iran.

Tens of thousands of pro-Iranian fighters marched through Baghdad, waving flags and chanting that “revenge is coming” to the United States. And Ayatollah Khamenei visited General Suleimani’s family on Friday to pay his condolences.

In a television interview with Iran’s state television, the general’s son Hossien said, “My father always used to tell us, ‘I’m seeking martyrdom.’ He realized his dream.”

Mr. al-Muhandis, one of Iran’s top lieutenants in Iraq, was accused of playing a role in embassy bombings in Kuwait in the 1980s and funneling weapons to pro-Iranian militias in the 2000s. Many Iraqis saw him as a hero for his role in the battle against the Islamic State.

After President Trump tweeted on Sunday that the United States had pinpointed 52 targets in Iran if there were to be any retaliation for the killing, Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said on Twitter that “targeting cultural sites is a war crime.”

Mr. Zarif said that the “end of U.S. malign presence in West Asia has begun” after an American airstrike that killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

Yet Mr. Trump also threatened on Twitter to hit Iran “harder than they have ever been hit before.”

“The United States just spent Two Trillion Dollars on Military Equipment,” he said. “We are the biggest and by far the BEST in the World! If Iran attacks an American Base, or any American, we will be sending some of that brand new beautiful equipment their way … and without hesitation!”

In protest over that latest threat, Iran on Sunday summoned the Swiss envoy representing American interests in Tehran, Reuters reported.

The leader of Hezbollah, the Islamist movement backed by Iran, said in a speech Sunday that the American military would pay for killing General Suleimani, and that “fair punishment” would be aimed at targets such as military bases, warships and officers and soldiers in the region.

“When the coffins of American soldiers and officers begin to be transported,” said the militant leader, Hassan Nasrallah, according to Reuters, “Trump and his administration will realize that they have really lost the region and will lose the elections.”

American civilians, Mr. Nasrallah said, should not be targeted, saying “the American Army is the one that killed them.”

The State Department has classified Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, and the United States has long sought to counter its influence as a political and military force. The group plays a large role in Lebanon’s government, and the militia has battled and skirmished repeatedly with Israel.

The United States also holds Hezbollah responsible for the 1983 suicide attack on a Marine base in Beirut, a bombing that killed 241 service members. In an apparent reference to that attack, Mr. Nasrallah said there were more potential suicide bombers in the region than before.

He called the airstrike in Baghdad “the start of a new phase and new history” for the Middle East.

The harsh rhetoric continued to fly on Sunday, Iran’s information and telecommunications minister calling President Trump is “a terrorist in a suit.”

The minister, Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi, wrote on Twitter: “Like ISIS, Like Hitler, Like Genghis! They all hate cultures. Trump is a terrorist in a suit. He will learn history very soon that NOBODY can defeat ‘the Great Iranian Nation & Culture.’”

And in Iran’s Parliament on Sunday, lawmakers chanted, “Death to America!” in unison as a protest over the United States’ killing of the two Iranian commanders.

Reporting was contributed by Alissa J. Rubin, Ben Hubbard, Falih Hassan, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Eric Schmitt, David D. Kirkpatrick, Edward Wong, Tess Felder, Yonette Joseph and Mariel Padilla.

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

Iraq Updates: Parliament Endorses Ousting of U.S. Troops

Here’s what you need to know:

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_166683702_fa6ce22c-ea1e-4b7d-8f28-31fd79cb9bd9-articleLarge Iraq Updates: Parliament Endorses Ousting of U.S. Troops United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Suleimani, Qassim Quds Force Middle East Iraq Iran Defense and Military Forces

A protest outside the United States Consulate in Istanbul on Sunday against the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani.Credit…Lefteris Pitarakis/Associated Press

Iraqi lawmakers voted 170-0 on Sunday in favor of expelling American troops from their country, just days after a United States drone strike killed the leader of Iran’s elite Quds Force on Iraqi soil.

Although the vote is not final until the draft bill is signed by Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi of Iraq, Mr. Madhi had indicated earlier on Sunday that he would do so.

The drone strike that killed the leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force, Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, at the Baghdad airport on Friday also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy head of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces, a coalition of Iranian-backed militias.

The attack was viewed in Iraq as a violation of the nation’s sovereignty, and the country’s Foreign Ministry said on Sunday that it had summoned the American ambassador in Baghdad.

Iraq’s Parliament was divided over demands from angry citizens to expel American troops. Many of its 328 members, primarily Kurds and Sunnis, did not attend Sunday’s session and did not vote.

The American-led coalition in Iraq and Syria said on Sunday that it was pausing its yearslong mission of attacking the Islamic State and training local forces in both countries as United States forces braced for retaliation from Iran over the killing of its top military commander.

A statement from the American command pointed to recent attacks on Iraqi and American bases, one of which killed an American contractor last month. “We have therefore paused these activities, subject to continuous review,” it said of the fight against ISIS.

After the killing last week of the commander, Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani — who was responsible deaths of hundreds of troops over the years — the approximately 5,200 troops in Iraq and several hundred in Syria are focused on fortifying their outposts.

Video

Westlake Legal Group 05Iran-iraq1-videoSixteenByNineJumbo1600 Iraq Updates: Parliament Endorses Ousting of U.S. Troops United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Suleimani, Qassim Quds Force Middle East Iraq Iran Defense and Military Forces

The body of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani was brought back to Iran. Mourners flooded the streets, weeping and holding up posters of the general, as his coffin moved through the crowds.CreditCredit…Hossein Mersadi/EPA, via Shutterstock

Hundreds of thousands of mourners poured into the streets of Iran to pay their respects to Maj. General Qassim Suleimani on Sunday, one day after joint funerals were held in Baghdad for the slain Quds Force leader and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a powerful militia leader in Iraq and a close adviser to the general.

Both men were killed by an American drone strike early Friday at Baghdad’s airport, inflaming tensions between Washington and Tehran and raising fears that more violence will follow.

President Trump said he had ordered the airstrikes not just as retaliation for past attacks on Americans, but also to prevent “imminent and sinister attacks” on more Americans. But Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and its president, Hassan Rouhani, both promised that the country would take “revenge” for the killing.

Iran’s regional reach was visible during the services in Baghdad, which were as close to a state ceremony in Iraq as any since the fall of Saddam Hussein. Many mourners were members of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces, militias that came together to fight the Islamic State — and the most powerful of which are affiliated with Iran.

Tens of thousands of pro-Iranian fighters marched through Baghdad, waving flags and chanting that “revenge is coming” to the United States. And Ayatollah Khamenei visited General Suleimani’s family on Friday to pay his condolences.

In a television interview with Iran’s state television, the general’s son Hossien said, “My father always used to tell us, ‘I’m seeking martyrdom.’ He realized his dream.”

Mr. al-Muhandis, one of Iran’s top lieutenants in Iraq, who was accused of playing a role in embassy bombings in Kuwait in the 1980s and funneling weapons to pro-Iranian militias in the 2000s. Many Iraqis saw him as a hero for his role in the battle against the Islamic State.

After President Trump tweeted on Sunday that the United States had pinpointed 52 targets in Iran if there were to be any retaliation for the killing, Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said on Twitter that “targeting cultural sites is a war crime.”

Mr. Zarif said that the “end of U.S. malign presence in West Asia has begun” after an American airstrike that killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

Yet Mr. Trump also threatened on Twitter to hit Iran “harder than they have ever been hit before.”

“The United States just spent Two Trillion Dollars on Military Equipment,” he said. “We are the biggest and by far the BEST in the World! If Iran attacks an American Base, or any American, we will be sending some of that brand new beautiful equipment their way … and without hesitation!”

In protest over that latest threat, Iran on Sunday summoned the Swiss envoy representing American interests in Tehran, Reuters reported.

The harsh rhetoric continued to fly on Sunday, Iran’s information and telecommunications minister calling President Trump is “a terrorist in a suit.”

The minister, Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi, wrote on Twitter: “Like ISIS, Like Hitler, Like Genghis! They all hate cultures. Trump is a terrorist in a suit. He will learn history very soon that NOBODY can defeat ‘the Great Iranian Nation & Culture.’”

And in Iran’s Parliament on Sunday, lawmakers chanted, “Death to America!” in unison as a protest over the United States’ killing of the two Iranian commanders.

Reporting was contributed by Alissa J. Rubin, Ben Hubbard, Falih Hassan, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Eric Schmitt, David D. Kirkpatrick, Tess Felder, Yonette Joseph and Mariel Padilla.

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

As Tensions With Iran Escalated, Trump Opted for Most Extreme Measure

Westlake Legal Group 05iran-europe-facebookJumbo As Tensions With Iran Escalated, Trump Opted for Most Extreme Measure United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Suleimani, Qassim Middle East Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Defense Department Defense and Military Forces Bush, George W Baghdadi, Abu Bakr al-

WASHINGTON — In the chaotic days leading to the death of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, Iran’s most powerful commander, top American military officials put the option of killing him — which they viewed as the most extreme response to recent Iranian-led violence in Iraq — on the menu they presented to President Trump.

They didn’t think he would take it. In the wars waged since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Pentagon officials have often offered improbable options to presidents to make other possibilities appear more palatable.

After initially rejecting the Suleimani option on Dec. 28 and authorizing airstrikes on an Iranian-backed Shia militia group instead, a few days later Mr. Trump watched, fuming, as television reports showed Iranian-backed attacks on the American Embassy in Baghdad, according to Defense Department and administration officials.

By late Thursday, the president had gone for the extreme option. Top Pentagon officials were stunned.

Mr. Trump made the decision, senior officials said on Saturday, despite disputes in the administration about the significance of what some officials said was a new stream of intelligence that warned of threats to American embassies, consulates and military personnel in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. General Suleimani had just completed a tour of his forces in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq, and was planning an “imminent” attack that could claim hundreds of lives, those officials said.

“Days, weeks,” Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Friday, when asked how imminent any attacks could be, without offering more detail other than to say that new information about unspecified plotting was “clear and unambiguous.”

But some officials voiced private skepticism about the rationale for a strike on General Suleimani, who was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American troops over the years. According to one United States official, the new intelligence indicated “a normal Monday in the Middle East” — Dec. 30 — and General Suleimani’s travels amounted to “business as usual.”

That official described the intelligence as thin and said that General Suleimani’s attack was not imminent because of communications the United States had between Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and General Suleimani showing that the ayatollah had not yet approved any plans by the general for an attack. The ayatollah, according to the communications, had asked General Suleimani to come to Tehran for further discussions at least a week before his death.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence were two of the most hawkish voices arguing for a response to Iranian aggression, according to administration officials. Mr. Pence’s office helped run herd on meetings and conference calls held by officials in the run-up to the strike.

Mr. Esper and General Milley declined to comment for this article, but General Milley’s spokeswoman, Col. DeDe Halfhill, said, without elaborating, that “some of the characterizations being asserted by other sources are false” and that she would not discuss conversations between General Milley and the president.

The fallout from Mr. Trump’s targeted killing is now underway. On Saturday in Iraq, the American military was on alert as tens of thousands of pro-Iranian fighters marched through the streets of Baghdad and calls accelerated to eject the United States from the country. United States Central Command, which oversees American military operations in the Middle East, said there were two rocket attacks near Iraqi bases that host American troops, but no one was injured.

In Iran, the ayatollah vowed “forceful revenge” as the country mourned the death of General Suleimani.

In Palm Beach, Fla., Mr. Trump lashed back, promising to strike 52 sites across Iran — representing the number of American hostages taken by Iran in 1979 — if Iran attacked Americans or American interests. On Saturday night, Mr. Trump warned on Twitter that some sites were “at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD.”

On Capitol Hill, Democrats voiced growing suspicions about the intelligence that led to the killing. At the White House, officials formally notified Congress of a war powers resolution with what the administration said was a legal justification for the strike.

At Fort Bragg, N.C., some 3,500 soldiers, one of the largest rapid deployments in decades, are bound for the Middle East.

General Suleimani, who was considered the most important person in Iran after Ayatollah Khamenei, was a commanding general of a sovereign government. The last time the United States killed a major military leader in a foreign country was during World War II, when the American military shot down the plane carrying the Japanese admiral Isoroku Yamamoto.

But administration officials are playing down General Suleimani’s status as a part of the Iranian state, suggesting his title gave him cover for terrorist activities. In the days since his death, they have sought to describe the strike as more in line with the killing of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Islamic State leader, who died in October in an American commando raid in Syria.

Administration officials insisted they did not anticipate sweeping retaliation from Iran, in part because of divisions in the Iranian leadership. But Mr. Trump’s two predecessors — Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama — had rejected killing General Suleimani as too provocative.

General Suleimani had been in Mr. Trump’s sights since the beginning of the administration, although it was a Dec. 27 rocket attack on an Iraqi military base outside Kirkuk, which left an American civilian contractor dead, that set the killing in motion.

General Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper traveled on Sunday to Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Trump’s Palm Beach resort, a day after officials presented the president with an initial list of options for how to deal with escalating violence against American targets in Iraq.

The options included strikes on Iranian ships or missile facilities or against Iranian-backed militia groups in Iraq. The Pentagon also tacked on the choice of targeting General Suleimani, mainly to make other options seem reasonable.

Mr. Trump chose strikes against militia groups. On Sunday, the Pentagon announced that airstrikes approved by the president had struck three locations in Iraq and two in Syria controlled by the group, Kataib Hezbollah.

Jonathan Hoffman, the chief Pentagon spokesman, said the targets included weapons storage facilities and command posts used to attack American and partner forces. About two dozen militia fighters were killed.

“These were on remote sites,” General Milley told reporters on Friday in his Pentagon office. “There was no collateral damage.”

But the Iranians viewed the strikes as out of proportion to their attack on the Iraqi base and took to violent protests outside the American Embassy in Baghdad. Mr. Trump, who aides said had on his mind the specter of the 2012 attacks on the American compound in Benghazi, Libya, became increasingly angry as he watched television images of pro-Iranian demonstrators storming the embassy. Aides said he worried that no response would look weak after repeated threats by the United States.

When Mr. Trump chose the option of killing General Suleimani, top military officials, flabbergasted, were immediately alarmed about the prospect of Iranian retaliatory strikes on American troops in the region. It is unclear if General Milley or Mr. Esper pushed back on the president’s decision.

Over the next several days, the military’s Special Operations Command looked for an opportunity to hit General Suleimani, who operated in the open and was treated like a celebrity in many places he visited in the Middle East. Military and intelligence officials said the strike drew on information from secret informants, electronic intercepts, reconnaissance aircraft and other surveillance tools.

The option that was eventually approved depended on who would greet General Suleimani at his expected arrival on Friday at Baghdad International Airport. If he was met by Iraqi government officials allied with Americans, one American official said, the strike would be called off. But the official said it was a “clean party,” meaning members of Kataib Hezbollah, including its leader, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. Mr. Trump authorized the killing at about 5 p.m. on Thursday, officials said.

On Friday, missiles fired from an American MQ-9 Reaper blew up General Suleimani’s convoy as it departed the airport.

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Iranians Close Ranks Behind Leaders After U.S. Kills Popular General

Westlake Legal Group 04iran-suleimani5-facebookJumbo Iranians Close Ranks Behind Leaders After U.S. Kills Popular General United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Terrorism Targeted Killings Suleimani, Qassim Rouhani, Hassan Quds Force Khamenei, Ali Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Iran Embargoes and Sanctions Baghdad (Iraq)

In cities across Iran, tens of thousands packed the streets to mourn Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani. Black-clad women and men beat their chests and clutched photos of him. A black flag went up on the golden dome of Imam Reza shrine in the city of Mashhad, one of the holiest sites of Shiite Islam.

Just a few weeks earlier, the streets were filled with protesters angry with their leaders over the flailing economy and the country’s international isolation.

But at least for now, Iran is united — in anger at the United States.

For years, it has been a divided nation led by aged revolutionaries determined to impose their will on a predominantly young population with no memory of the Shah, who was deposed in the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and with a thirst to live in a more normal nation integrated into the world.

Suddenly, with one targeted assassination, the nation rallied behind its leaders.

Young and old. Rich and poor. Hard-liner and reformer, General Suleimani, Iran’s most powerful military leader, was almost universally admired and had near cult figure status. After being killed in Baghdad on Friday in a drone strike ordered by President Trump, his image is now plastered across Tehran, shrouded in black drapes.

“Without doubt, the people of Iran will take revenge for this horrific criminal act,” tweeted the president, Hassan Rouhani, a leader who once advocated diplomacy and integration with the West.

In Iraq on Saturday, tens of thousands of pro-Iranian fighters marched through the capital, Baghdad, vowing to exact revenge on the United States at a funeral procession for two revered Iraqi military figures who were also killed in the attack on General Suleimani.

And back in Iran, politicians and ordinary people of all stripes voiced support for the vow by the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, that “severe revenge awaits those criminals” who killed the general.

The assassination appears to have solidified the hard-liners’ grip on power, neutralizing at least for the moment those who had called for talks with the West, experts inside and outside of Iran said.

Iran’s relative moderates like Mr. Rouhani have been on the defensive since Mr. Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal and imposed an array of sanctions, contributing to Iran’s sharp economic decline.

That reversal bolstered hard-line critics who said it discredited those who had accepted American assurances. Moderates had nurtured fading hopes of renewed talks with Washington — possibly between the two presidents.

Any talk of outreach or liberalization seems more dangerous than it has in years and is likely to fade from public debate for the time being. The prospect of negotiations with the United States, tweeted Sara Masoumi, a prominent reformist journalist, is now “below zero.”

“At least in the short term, this will create a rally to the flag; Suleimani was personally popular,” said Vali R. Nasr, a Middle East scholar and former dean of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies. He predicted “an outpouring of emotion,” both organic and whipped up by the government.

Iran is bestowing honors on Mr. Suleimani as if he were a combination of statesman and saint. His body will circulate around shrines in all the holy cities of Shiite Islam from Samarra, Kadhimiya, Karbala and Najaf in Iraq to Mashhad and Qom in Iran.

As his body makes its way to four Iranian cities over the next few days, large crowds are expected to attend and display their solidarity and defiance. This show of unity, however, could be short-lived.

The deep grievances that ignited protests against the government in November still remain in place: economic hardship, international isolation and social oppression. Some Iranian opposition supporters have praised the assassination and are in favor of Washington increasing its maximum pressure policy on Iran’s rulers.

Just last month, mass anti-government protests shook Iran, showing deep discontent — which only grew with a brutal crackdown that killed as many as 1,000 people. Fury at the United States is now expected to deflect attention from the country’s economic suffering and the recent protests.

And the assassination may well provide Iran’s leaders with an excuse to intensify its repression of dissenters and critics.

General Suleimani’s killing “was the worst thing that could happen to civic movements in Iran and Iraq,” said Amir Rashidi, an Iranian cybersecurity expert based in New York.

“It means more pressure on people who are already being squeezed politically and economically.”

In just a few days, the conflict between the United States and Iran has escalated dramatically. A rocket attack on a military base in Iraq killed an American on Friday; the United States blamed it on an Iran-backed militia and carried out airstrikes Sunday that killed some two dozen militia fighters. On Tuesday, militias swarmed the American embassy compound in Baghdad, breached the outer wall and set fire to some structures.

General Suleimani led the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, which conducts Iran’s foreign military operations. He commanded Iranian forces battling the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. He also headed Iran’s role in arming, training and directing anti-ISIS Shiite militias; the American attack that killed him also killed the powerful leader of Iran-backed militias in Iraq, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

In addition, the general directed Iran’s involvement with forces like the Houthi rebels in Yemen, Hezbollah in Lebanon and others that are in conflict with the United States and its regional allies, Israel and Saudi Arabia. The United States had labeled him a terrorist since 2007 and imposed economic sanctions on him.

But in Iran, the government built up his public image as the person keeping the country safe. He went from a commander in the shadows to a household name, regularly seen in news videos directing troops in battle, meeting with allied leaders and reciting poetry about martyrdom.

“Qassim Suleimani has been seen as the public face of Iran’s regional policy,” said Sanam Vakil, a senior research fellow and leader of the Iran Forum at Chatham House, an international affairs institute based in London. “Since the fight against ISIS, you’ve seen this surge of support for him.”

Iranians who are usually outspoken in support of human rights have turned to national solidarity and sorrow at his death.

“How soon we forget how close ISIS was to us and who defeated this monster,” the actress Bahareh Rahnama posted on her Instagram account. One of Iran’s biggest celebrities, she is well known for her support of women’s rights.

General Suleimani was broadly thought of as a conservative, but he took care not to align himself with any political faction in Iran or take sides in domestic disputes, allowing him to be seen as above politics.

“He’s someone who had a depth and breadth of relationships within the Iranian system that allowed him to work with all key players,” Ms. Tabatabai said. She cited his close working relationship with Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, who is seen as a moderate.

“Every major political actor within Iran, from reformist to hard-liner, is saying this is a great loss,” she said.

Iran announced a three-day funeral procession for General Suleimani which began on Saturday in Baghdad and then moves to other cities in Iraq. The procession will continue in Mashhad, Iran on Sunday and Tehran on Monday, where Ayatollah Khamenei will pray over the general’s body at Tehran University.

Then on Tuesday it will go to his hometown, Kerman, for burial. Iranian media reported that he left a will asking for a simple burial there.

An enormous turnout is expected, and leaders of militant groups from across the region are expected to attend the services, several people with knowledge of the planning said.

“Many Iranians, whether they like the regime or not, did consider Suleimani as a sort of national symbol,” said Raz Zimmt, an Iran specialist at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, and they see his assassination “as something that hurts national pride. ”Mahmoud Dowlatabadi, a prominent Iranian author who has spoken out for artistic freedom, wrote that “Iran once again lost one of its most honorable children.”

Since Mr. Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal, Iran has revived its nuclear program in stages, amid escalating conflicts with the United States. The European signers of the agreement promised to find a way to offset the effects of the sanctions, but so far have failed. Hints at renewed negotiations with Washington have gone nowhere.

“The moderates were already on life support” before the killing of General Suleimani, Mr. Nasr said, and Iran will hold legislative elections next month. “I would guess the hard-liners are going to do very well. This kind of pressure on Iran, just like in any country, plays into the hands of the security forces.”

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