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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump, Donald J" (Page 87)

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.

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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.

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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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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 it will go to his hometown, Kerman, for burial on Tuesday.

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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In Era of Perpetual Conflict, a Volatile President Grabs Expanded Powers to Make War

Westlake Legal Group 00dc-assess1-sub-facebookJumbo In Era of Perpetual Conflict, a Volatile President Grabs Expanded Powers to Make War War and Emergency Powers (US) United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Targeted Killings Suleimani, Qassim Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Defense Department Defense and Military Forces

WASHINGTON — The powers of an American president to wage war have grown stronger for nearly two decades, ever since the Sept. 11 attacks led the United States into an era of perpetual conflict.

Those powers are now in the hands of the most volatile president in recent memory.

President Trump’s decision to authorize the killing of a top Iranian military leader could be the match that sets off a regional conflagration, or it could have only marginal geopolitical impact like so many of the targeted killings ordered by Mr. Trump and his predecessors. But it is just the latest example of the capricious way in which the president, as commander in chief, has chosen to flex his lethal powers.

From his dealings with Iran, Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan, Mr. Trump has shown little evidence over the past three years that his decisions about war and peace are made after careful deliberation or serious consideration of the consequences.

In June, Mr. Trump shocked his vice president, his national security adviser and his secretary of state when he reversed himself and called off a strike against Iran with only 10 minutes to spare. That decision, days after Iran downed an American reconnaissance drone, came in part after Mr. Trump consulted Tucker Carlson, the Fox News personality, who reminded the president that he had pledged to get out of foreign conflicts rather than begin new ones. A strike on Iran, Mr. Carlson said, could anger the president’s political base.

A little more than six months later, Mr. Trump ordered the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, who led Iran’s powerful Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. It was a move — set in motion after a rocket attack on Dec. 27 by forces linked to Iran killed an American contractor in Iraq — that Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama considered too provocative to authorize.

The war-making powers that Congress granted to the president in the years since the Sept. 11 attacks, combined with stunning advances in the technology of man-hunting, have given the inhabitant of the Oval Office the power to track and kill individuals practically anywhere on earth. General Suleimani was not even a particularly difficult target at Baghdad International Airport on Friday, when his convoy was hit by missiles fired by an American MQ-9 Reaper drone.

There have been attempts by lawmakers in recent years to limit the president’s abilities to wage new or expanded wars based on the authorities Congress granted in the years after the Sept. 11 attacks. But with little support from leaders of both parties on Capitol Hill, those efforts have generally gone nowhere.

“Our country has, quite self-consciously, given one person, the President, an enormous sprawling military and enormous discretion to use it in ways that can easily lead to a massive war. That is our system: one person decides,” Jack Goldsmith, a Harvard Law professor and former Justice Department official during the George W. Bush administration, wrote on Friday on Twitter.

Mr. Trump’s suspicions about the national security and intelligence bureaucracy he inherited have guided his unorthodox decisions on other aspects of foreign policy, like writing flattering, personal letters to the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, and outsourcing much of his policy toward Ukraine to Rudolph W. Giuliani, his personal lawyer. There has been a dizzying turnover in his national security team: In three years, the president has had four national security advisers, two secretaries of state, two defense secretaries and one acting defense secretary.

How Mr. Trump sees the killing of General Suleimani as advancing his broader agenda on Iran is unclear, and on Friday he seemed to portray the operation as something of a one-off: a necessary step to ensure that tensions between the United States and Iran do not spiral out of control. General Suleimani was plotting “imminent and sinister attacks” before “we caught him in the act and terminated him,” the president said from his resort in Palm Beach, Fla., although administration officials did not describe any threats that were different from what they said the general had been orchestrating for years.

“We took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war,” Mr. Trump said. The president’s decision to kill the general at this time appeared to many military experts as a potentially reckless escalation. But his policy toward Iran, what administration officials call a “maximum pressure” campaign, has long underestimated how the country would respond to economic sanctions that have crippled its economy.

When Iranian operatives blew holes in oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman in June and launched drone strikes on Saudi oil facilities in September, Mr. Trump opted in both cases against a direct, immediate military response. Still, one day after the drone strike targeting General Suleimani, the Pentagon announced it was sending around 3,000 more troops to Kuwait as a precaution against growing threats to American forces in the region.

Lindsay P. Cohn, a professor of international strategy at the Naval War College, said that Mr. Trump appears to be convinced that General Suleimani’s death will not lead to a significant surge of violence in the Middle East. It satisfies two imperatives for him: appearing to look tough without taking on, at least for now, any new commitments.

“He doesn’t want to get entangled. But he doesn’t want to look weak,” said Professor Cohn, adding that her opinions did not necessarily represent those of the Defense Department.

The president’s mercurial approach to Iran has left a trail of alienated allies — including European NATO allies angry about his decision to withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and Arab nations in the Persian Gulf region uncertain about Mr. Trump’s resolve to support them in the face of direct attack from Iran.

Mr. Trump’s blunt language about the folly of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan led some to conclude that he was shy about using force. The evidence shows the opposite, said Micah Zenko, a national security expert who writes frequently about American presidents and the use of military power.

During the three years of the Trump administration, airstrikes in Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia have sharply increased, as have civilian casualties, Mr. Zenko said. But rather than centralizing decisions about lethal force inside the White House, Mr. Trump has often devolved authority to military commanders.

Mr. Zenko described the president as a “passive hawk,” wanting to appear tough without making decisions about military force that could incite long-term commitments.

Less than 10 days in office, Mr. Trump authorized a risky commando raid in Yemen that killed several civilians and one Navy SEAL, Chief Petty Officer William Ryan Owens. Amid criticism for the botched raid, Mr. Trump put the blame on military commanders who, he said, “lost Ryan.”

Twice Mr. Trump ordered cruise missile attacks against the government of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria in retaliation for chemical attacks on civilians there, something that Mr. Obama decided against. Administration officials said that Mr. Trump was particularly impressed by the success of the Special Operations raid in October that killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State, something that may have led the president toward approving the killing of General Soleimani.

One of Mr. Trump’s former national security advisers, John R. Bolton, who was pushed out in September because the president considered him an irritant and too much of a hawk, was suddenly praising Mr. Trump on Friday.

The killing of General Suleimani was the type of strike that Mr. Bolton had long advocated — and Mr. Trump had once rebuffed — and the former aide tweeted that he hoped it would be the “first step toward regime change in Iran.”

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The Killing of Gen. Qassim Suleimani: What We Know Since the U.S. Airstrike

Video

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Video Shows Aftermath of U.S. Strike That Killed Top Iran Commander

President Trump authorized the attack early Friday at Baghdad International Airport that killed Iran’s top security and intelligence commander, Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani.

Suleimani was plotting imminent and sinister attacks on American diplomats and military personnel. But we caught him in the act. We took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war.

Westlake Legal Group merlin_166605342_bb1d07c1-25be-4a96-8815-857e98b24a47-videoSixteenByNine3000 The Killing of Gen. Qassim Suleimani: What We Know Since the U.S. Airstrike United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces United States Trump, Donald J Suleimani, Qassim Khamenei, Ali Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Iran Defense and Military Forces Deaths (Fatalities) Baghdad International Airport (Iraq) Baghdad (Iraq)

President Trump authorized the attack early Friday at Baghdad International Airport that killed Iran’s top security and intelligence commander, Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani.CreditCredit…Ali Mohammadi/Bloomberg News

President Trump said Friday afternoon that the airstrike that killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the powerful Iranian commander, was ordered “to stop a war” and prevented attacks on Americans.

“Suleimani was plotting imminent and sinister attacks on American diplomats and military personnel, but we caught him in the act and terminated him,” he said, speaking to reporters from his resort in West Palm Beach, Fla. “We took action last night to stop a war, we did not take action to start a war.”

Mr. Trump said the United States is not seeking regime change in Iran, but called for Tehran’s “aggression in the region” to immediately end. He also warned Iran against retaliating, saying, “If Americans anywhere are threatened, we have all of those targets already fully identified, and I am ready and prepared to take whatever action is necessary.”

He added, “that in particular refers to Iran.”

The airstrike directed by Mr. Trump dramatically ratcheted up tensions between Washington and Tehran, and Iran’s leaders quickly promised retaliation for the general’s killing.

Around the time of the overnight strike, a Special Operations unit based in the United States boarded transport aircraft bound for the Middle East, one Defense Department official said.

The deployment of the elite Army Rangers was the latest to the region. This week, the Pentagon readied 4,000 troops based at Fort Bragg, N.C., for a similar security mission to Kuwait. They are to depart in the coming days, joining 750 troops already deployed, officials said.

“The brigade will deploy to Kuwait as an appropriate and precautionary action in response to increased threat levels against U.S. personnel and facilities,” a Department of Defense spokesperson said.

General Suleimani, a powerful strategist who represented Iran’s influence across the region, was killed by an American drone at Baghdad’s airport, in an attack that had been authorized by President Trump.

Iraq’s Parliament planned to hold an emergency session over the weekend to address the airstrike, which Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi called “a brazen violation of Iraq’s sovereignty and a blatant attack on the nation’s dignity.” A powerful Iraqi militia leader was also killed.

The strike, regarded by analysts as perhaps the riskiest American move in the Middle East since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, threatened to inflame hostilities across the region.

Iran’s United Nations ambassador, Majid Takht Ravanchi, called the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani “an act of war,” and vowed that it would be met with “revenge, a harsh revenge.”

“Last night, they started a military war by assassinating, by an act of terror, one of our top generals,” Mr. Takht Ravanchi said during an appearance Friday on CNN. “We cannot just remain silent. We have to act and we will act.”

Asked if Iran would act militarily, Mr. Takht Ravanchi said: “That’s for the future to witness.”

In the hours after the American strike, thousands of pro-Iranian social media accounts went to work.

Accounts on Twitter and Instagram tagged the White House with death threats and posted images of President Trump with a severed head and coffins covered in the American flag, alongside the hashtag Operation Hard Revenge.

It was not clear whether the activity was the work of actual accounts or state-backed bots, according to the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab. But they tweeted pro-Iranian, anti-American content at a rate of 3,000 tweets every 45 minutes, according to New York Times data.

The social media activity may just be an opening salvo, experts said.

Iran may begin a digital campaign of cyberattacks and disinformation in retaliation for General Suleimani’s death, they said. Tehran’s most likely target, the experts added, would be the American private sector.

Over the past year, Iranian hackers have taken aim at Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign. They have also targeted telecom companies, infrastructure systems and more than 200 oil, gas and heavy machinery companies around the world.

The hackers have “developed the ability to disrupt critical infrastructure and they already have the ability to wipe data,” said James A. Lewis, a cybersecurity expert at the Center for Strategic Studies in Washington. “But they’ve gone well beyond that now. The question is what services — pipelines? dams? — will they target now.”

Iran is still not “at the top of the league” of countries with the ability to cause widespread destruction via cyberattacks, Mr. Lewis and other experts said. But Tehran is much further along than American officials gave it credit for in 2009, when a classified intelligence assessment concluded that it had the motivation to inflict harm, but lacked the skills and resources to do so.

Since 2010 — when an Iranian nuclear facility was the target of a joint American-Israeli cyberattack — Tehran has embraced such attacks as part its strategy of “asymmetrical warfare.” While Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps may never match the West in conventional warfare, its specialized teams have learned how much destruction they can cause to vulnerable systems, according to American intelligence assessments and private security researchers.

Over the past five years, American officials and cybersecurity experts have tracked Iranian hackers as they have significantly advanced their capabilities beyond wiping data to sophisticated attacks on financial networks, internet infrastructure, energy companies — and, even more disconcerting, sites like the Bowman Dam in Westchester County and the Energy Department’s Idaho National Engineering Laboratory near Idaho Falls.

“They now have the ability to do serious harm,” Mr. Lewis said. “As the conflict with the U.S. continues, they’re going to be tempted. Expect to see a lot more testing of how far they can get into company networks, universities, federal networks and smaller government networks in towns and cities.”

An apparent airstrike hit a convoy belonging to a medical unit of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces near the town of Taji north of Baghdad early Saturday, killing at least four people, according to an official with the force.

The bodies were charred and not immediately identified, but were not believed to include senior leaders.

A United States military spokesman said he knew of no new American military action in Iraq.

Iranian leaders issued strident calls on Friday for revenge against the United States after the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani in an overnight airstrike at the Baghdad airport.

His death is a considerable blow to Tehran, and Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called for retaliation and for three days of national mourning.

“His departure to God does not end his path or his mission, but a forceful revenge awaits the criminals who have his blood and the blood of the other martyrs last night on their hands,” the supreme leader said in a statement.

Iran’s security body also pledged to avenge General Suleimani’s killing in the “right place and time,” saying it had reached a decision on how to do so.

The American strike spurred mass displays of public mourning by Iran and its network of allies across the Middle East. Iranian officials said the general’s body would be taken on a funeral procession around Baghdad, and that a funeral would be held for him in Tehran on Sunday.

On Friday, Mr. Trump posted on Twitter about the strike, saying that General Suleimani “killed or badly wounded thousands of Americans over an extended period of time, and was plotting to kill many more … but got caught!”

General Suleimani was the head of the powerful Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and the architect of nearly every significant operation by Iranian intelligence and military forces over the past two decades.

The general’s prominent role meant that his death could have a ripple effect in any number of countries across the Middle East where Iran and the United States compete for influence.

Westlake Legal Group sat-airport-900 The Killing of Gen. Qassim Suleimani: What We Know Since the U.S. Airstrike United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces United States Trump, Donald J Suleimani, Qassim Khamenei, Ali Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Iran Defense and Military Forces Deaths (Fatalities) Baghdad International Airport (Iraq) Baghdad (Iraq)

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Westlake Legal Group sat-airport-600 The Killing of Gen. Qassim Suleimani: What We Know Since the U.S. Airstrike United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces United States Trump, Donald J Suleimani, Qassim Khamenei, Ali Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Iran Defense and Military Forces Deaths (Fatalities) Baghdad International Airport (Iraq) Baghdad (Iraq)

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Suleimani was in a vehicle struck by two missiles as his convoy exited the airport.

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Westlake Legal Group sat-airport-335 The Killing of Gen. Qassim Suleimani: What We Know Since the U.S. Airstrike United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces United States Trump, Donald J Suleimani, Qassim Khamenei, Ali Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Iran Defense and Military Forces Deaths (Fatalities) Baghdad International Airport (Iraq) Baghdad (Iraq)

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The New York Times; satellite image by Maxar via Bing.

The strike was carried out by an MQ-9 Reaper drone that fired missiles on a convoy of vehicles leaving the airport. Several other officials from Iraqi militias backed by Tehran were also killed.

“This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans,” the Pentagon said in a statement. The United States has long been at odds with Iran over its nuclear program and influence in Iraq and other countries in the region. Those tensions have surged under the Trump administration.

The strike on Friday was the latest escalation between the two nations after a rocket attack on an Iraqi military base, believed to have been carried out by an Iran-backed militia, killed an American contractor in December.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_128266949_6734f689-770c-40a7-8640-0a5d3fdfe31a-articleLarge The Killing of Gen. Qassim Suleimani: What We Know Since the U.S. Airstrike United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces United States Trump, Donald J Suleimani, Qassim Khamenei, Ali Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Iran Defense and Military Forces Deaths (Fatalities) Baghdad International Airport (Iraq) Baghdad (Iraq)

Gas flares at an oil field in Kirkuk. Oil prices jumped on Friday after the news of the general’s killing.Credit…Ivor Prickett for The New York Times

The State Department urged American citizens to leave Iraq immediately following the strike that killed General Suleimani in Baghdad, citing “heightened tensions.”

Oil prices jumped on Friday after the news of the general’s death: The price of Brent oil, the international benchmark, surged in the early hours of Hong Kong trading to nearly $70 a barrel — an increase of $3.

The immediate increase in the price of oil was among the largest since an attack on a critical Saudi oil installation in September that temporarily knocked out 5 percent of the world’s oil supply.

By 11 a.m. in London, the price of Brent crude oil was at a three-month high of $69.20 a barrel. International oil companies based in the southeastern Iraqi city of Basra have begun evacuating American employees, according to Al Arabiya news outlet.

The Dow Jones industrial average and the S&P 500 each opened about 1 percent lower on Friday, while oil company shares rose, with Exxon Mobil up 1.3 percent and Chevron up 1.2 percent in premarket trading.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he had spoken to top diplomats in Britain, China and Germany on Friday about what the State Department described as President Trump’s recent decision to carry out the strike “in response to imminent threats to American lives.”

Mr. Pompeo also told his foreign counterparts that the United States was committed to de-escalation, according to the State Department. Mr. Pompeo posted several statements and a video on Twitter that he said showed Iraqis “dancing in the street.”

“This was a man who has put American lives at risk for an awfully long time,” Mr. Pompeo said on Friday on CNN. “Last night was the time that we needed to strike to make sure that this imminent attack that he was working actively was disrupted.”

He declined to provide more details about the looming attack.

One American official familiar with the internal discussions about the drone strike said the administration was still trying to figure out what would come next.

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the backlash over General Suleimani’s death could be even more fraught than the tensions after an American raid in 2011 that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of Al Qaeda, who was part of a stateless group and had no international support.

The Swiss Foreign Ministry said in a statement that a diplomat from Switzerland, which represents American interests in Iran to maintain communication, had delivered a message from the United States to the Iranian Foreign Ministry in Tehran on Friday concerning the death of General Suleimani. It did not elaborate.

“Given the latest events in the region, Switzerland invites both parties to avoid any escalation,” the ministry said.

As the leader of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, which leads Iran’s operations abroad, General Suleimani, who was 62, was the country’s top security and intelligence commander. He was behind nearly all military and intelligence operations orchestrated by Iran in the past two decades and directed Iran-backed militias in the fight against the Islamic State.

American officials have also accused him of causing the deaths of hundreds of soldiers during the Iraq war and he was believed to have played a central role in orchestrating Iran’s support for the government of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

In Iran, General Suleimani was a respected political figure among hard-liners and was close to the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. To many Iranians, he was also a war hero, after becoming a commander while he was only in his 20s during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.

The general’s deputy succeeded him within hours, according to Iranian news agencies, with Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, appointing Brig. Gen. Ismail Qaani as leader of the Quds Force on Friday.

General Qaani, 62, had been the force’s deputy commander since 1997, according to Reuters.

The United States Treasury Department put General Qaani on a blacklist in 2012 for what it called “financial disbursements” to various terrorist groups, including Hezbollah.

Large crowds gathered for Friday Prayer in Iran and filled public squares with mass protests, while officials met privately to plot strategy and leaders vowed to avenge General Suleimani’s death.

Images broadcast on Iranian state television showed thousands of supporters of General Suleimani gathered in mourning outside his house in the southeastern town of Kerman, and in other cities.

“The great nation of Iran will take revenge for this heinous crime,” President Hassan Rouhani wrote on Twitter.

Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, called the strike an “act of international terrorism.”

Iran was working with Iraqi officials to repatriate the general’s body for a funeral service, perhaps as soon as Saturday, a number of Iranian journalists reported.

Iran’s Supreme National Security Council also held an emergency meeting on Friday, which the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, attended. The council issued a statement after the meeting saying it had reached a decision on how to respond to the killing, but did not say what that decision was.

“America must know the criminal attack on General Suleimani was its worst strategic mistake in the Middle East and that America will not escape the consequences easily,” the statement read. “As our supreme leader said in his message, a harsh revenge awaits the criminals who have the general’s blood on their hands. These criminals will face revenge at the right time and place.”

In Iraq, the strike appeared likely to accelerate calls for the departure of American troops. Along with General Suleimani, it killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the leader of a powerful militia that is backed by Iran but under the umbrella of the Iraqi military.

Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi of Iraq praised Mr. al-Muhandis and General Suleimani as heroes in the fight against the Islamic State and condemned their killing as a violation of sovereignty.

Friday’s strike in Baghdad also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, an Iraqi militia leader who was one of Iran’s top lieutenants in Iraq and a veteran of battles against the United States and the Islamic State.

Born Jamal Jaafar Ibrahimi, he was better known by his nom de guerre and gained prominence as mostly Shiite militias formed to fight the Islamic State in 2014. But he was a powerful force in Iraq for years, and his death alone would have sent shock waves through the country.

In 2009, the United States Treasury Department designated Mr. al-Muhandis a “threat to stability in Iraq” and accused him of helping smuggle rockets, sniper rifles and other weapons into the country from Iran.

Long before the Iraq war, he was accused of playing a role in the bombings of French and American Embassies in Kuwait in 1983, and the later attempt to assassinate Kuwait’s emir.

Much of Mr. al-Muhandis’s history remains murky, including his exact age: He would have been about 66 or 67 at the time of his death, according to the United States government, which has said he was born in 1953 in Basra, Iraq.

Mr. al-Muhandis fled Iraq with the rise of Saddam Hussein and spent years in exile in Iran, cultivating close ties with Iranian officials, becoming fluent in Persian and keeping a home in Tehran. He returned to Iraq in the aftermath of the American invasion in 2003 and briefly served in Iraq’s Parliament before dropping out of public view.

He helped found a militia that fought against the United States, and was accused of training and equipping a network of anti-American groups. The militia has continued to oppose the United States, and American officials blamed it for the rocket attack that killed an American contractor last week.

In a reflection of the chaos that has engulfed Iraq and the region, it was only five years after the Treasury Department put sanctions on Mr. al-Muhandis that he found himself effectively on the same side as the United States. The invasion of Iraq by the Islamic State from Syria gave his militia, Iran and the United States a common enemy.

Iranian allies across the Arab world condemned the United States, reflecting the strength of the regional network General Suleimani spent much of his life building, including links to the government of Syria and militant groups in Lebanon, Gaza, Yemen and elsewhere.

The leader of Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group and political party that General Suleimani helped build, vowed in a statement that his group would continue on the path the general set and “work night and day to achieve his goals.”

It was the responsibility of all resistance fighters to seek “just retribution” against “the most evil criminals in the world,” the leader, Hassan Nasrallah, said, meaning the United States.

In Yemen, the administration run by the Houthi rebels, who have received support from Iran in their war against Saudi Arabia, condemned the United States strike as a “cowardly attack” that “makes clear the increasing American spite against all who are in favor of justice for the Islamic world.”

In Syria, where General Suleimani oversaw a huge effort to shore up the government of President Bashar al-Assad, a foreign ministry official condemned the “treacherous, criminal American aggression” that led to his killing, the state news agency SANA reported on Friday.

António Guterres, the United Nations’ secretary general, voiced his deep concern over the recent rise in tensions in the Middle East, his spokesman, Farhan Haq, said in a statement.

“The world cannot afford another war in the Gulf,” the statement read. “This is a moment in which leaders must exercise maximum restraint.”

The killing of General Suleimani “most likely” violated international law, Agnes Callamard, the United Nations expert on extrajudicial executions, said in a post on Twitter.

“Use of lethal force is only justified to protect against an imminent threat to life,” Ms. Callamard wrote. Use of drones for targeted killings outside active hostilities was “almost never likely to be legal,” she added.

Many experts also said on Friday that the strike probably ended any prospect of negotiations to save the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the landmark nuclear agreement Iran signed in 2015 with the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany. The recent escalation in tensions between the United States and Iran began with the 2018 decision by President Trump to withdraw from the deal.

The Russian Foreign Ministry called the killing of General Suleimani “an adventurist step that will increase tensions throughout the region,” according to local news agencies.

A spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry called for restraint on all sides, “especially the United States.”

“China has always opposed the use of force in international relations,” the spokesman, Geng Shuang, said at a daily news briefing, according to news agencies.

Britain’s foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, called on Friday for a de-escalation in tensions and said that further conflict in the region was not in his country’s interest.

“We have always recognized the aggressive threat posed by the Iranian Quds force led by Qassim Suleimani,” Mr. Raab said in a statement. “Following his death, we urge all parties to de-escalate.”

Federica Mogherini, the European high representative for foreign and security policy, said on Twitter that the general’s killing was “an extremely dangerous escalation.”

In France, the country’s junior minister for European affairs, Amélie de Montchalin, said that she would soon consult with countries in the region.

“We have woken up to a more dangerous world,” Ms. de Montchalin told French radio, calling for “stability and de-escalation.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel cut short an official visit to Greece to return to Israel on Friday after the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani.

Before boarding the plane, Mr. Netanyahu praised President Trump for “acting swiftly, forcefully and decisively.”

General Suleimani, a longtime adversary of Israel, was credited with overseeing many attacks against Israeli and Jewish targets and he was linked with an attack on the Israeli Embassy in Argentina in the 1990s. More recently, he was behind military actions from Syria, across Israel’s northern frontier.

Hamas, the Islamic militant group that controls the Palestinian coastal territory of Gaza, condemned what it called “U.S. bullying” that it said served the interests of Israel.

It offered condolences to Iran on the death of General Suleimani, saying in a statement that he had “played a major and critical role in supporting Palestinian resistance at all levels.”

Bassem Naim, a spokesman for the group, said on Twitter that the assassination “opens the doors of the region to all possibilities, except calm & stability.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi demanded that the administration brief the full Congress on the strike and the next steps under consideration, noting that the move was made without lawmakers’ consultation or an authorization of military force.

Ms. Pelosi spoke with Mark T. Esper, the defense secretary, Thursday night after the attack, an aide said, but was not given advance notice.

The strike, Ms. Pelosi said in a statement late Thursday evening, “risks provoking further dangerous escalation of violence. America — and the world — cannot afford to have tensions escalate to the point of no return.”

In stark contrast, Republican lawmakers — including both Iran hawks and those who have frequently clashed with Mr. Trump over his foreign policy — have almost uniformly praised the move.

“Will there be escalation? Yes. But the escalation is not on our part,” Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, who was stationed twice in Iraq with the Air Force, told CNN. “We’re finally responding to continued provocations by Iran.”

The strike immediately spurred debate among American lawmakers about President Trump’s war powers and left congressional leaders sharply divided along party lines.

Senator Tom Udall, Democrat of New Mexico, accused Mr. Trump of bringing the nation “to the brink of an illegal war with Iran.”

Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, said on Twitter that Mr. Trump had “exercised admirable restraint” and added that the Quds Force were “entirely to blame.”

Reporting was contributed by Ben Hubbard, Farnaz Fassihi, Megan Specia, Isabel Kershner, Ronen Bergman, Lara Jakes, Eileen Sullivan, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Elian Peltier, Catie Edmondson, Benjamin Mueller, Alan Yuhas, Nick Cumming-Bruce, Nicole Perlroth, Ben Decker and Joan Nassivera.

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For Trump, a Risky Decision Other Presidents Had Avoided

WASHINGTON — President Trump was deep in discussion with political advisers going over campaign plans at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida just before 5 p.m. on Thursday when he was abruptly summoned to another meeting. A while later he returned just as mysteriously, jumping back into the conversation without offering a clue to what was going on.

In those few minutes, according to multiple people briefed on the events, Mr. Trump had made one of the most consequential foreign policy decisions of his presidency, giving final authorization to a drone strike halfway around the world that would eliminate one of America’s deadliest enemies while pushing the United States to the edge of an escalating confrontation with Iran that could transform the Middle East.

The military operation that killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the Iranian security and intelligence commander responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American troops over the years, was unlike the ones that took out Osama bin Laden or Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, terrorist leaders caught after long manhunts. General Suleimani did not have to be hunted; a high-ranking official of the Iranian government, he was in plain sight for years. All that was required was a president to decide to pull the trigger.

Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama never did. Mr. Bush’s administration made a conscious decision not to kill General Suleimani when he was in the cross hairs and Mr. Obama’s administration evidently never made an effort to pursue him. Both reasoned that killing the most powerful general in Iran would only risk a wider war with Iran, alienating American allies in Europe and the Middle East and undermining the United States in a region that had already cost plenty of lives and treasure in the last two decades.

But Mr. Trump opted to take the risk they did not, determined to demonstrate after months of backing down following previous Iranian provocations that he would no longer stand by while General Suleimani roamed freely. “He should have been taken out many years ago!” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter on Friday.

The question was why now? “This guy has been killing Americans in Iraq since 2003,” said Jon Soltz, the chairman of VoteVets.org and an Iraq war veteran. “I was in one of his attacks in Taji in 2011. They were dropping 240-millimeter rockets on us. So this is not a surprise that he’s involved in killing Americans.”

“But the question is what was different last night?” he added. “The onus is on Trump to prove something was different, or this is no different than another weapons of mass destruction play.”

Aides said Mr. Trump was angry about a rocket attack last week by forces linked to Tehran that killed an American civilian contractor and stewed as he watched television images of pro-Iranian demonstrators storming the American Embassy in Baghdad in the days that followed, neither of which would normally result in such a seemingly disproportionate retaliation.

But senior officials said the decision to target General Suleimani grew out of a new stream of Iran threats to American embassies, consulates and military personnel in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. General Suleimani had just left Damascus, the Syrian capital, where he was planning an “imminent” attack that could claim hundreds of lives, officials said.

“We’d be negligent if we didn’t respond,” Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters on Friday in his Pentagon office. “The threat of inaction exceeded the threat of action.”

Still, officials offered scant details and only general explanations for why these reported threats were any different than the rocket attacks, roadside bombings and other assaults carried out by General Suleimani’s Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps over the years. “Size, scale and scope,” General Milley said without elaboration.

National security experts and even other officials at the Pentagon said they were unaware of anything drastically new about Iranian behavior in recent weeks; General Suleimani has been accused of prodding Shiite militias into attacking Americans for more than a decade.

The drone strike came at a fraught time for the president, who faces a Senate trial after being impeached by the House largely along party lines last month for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. While advisers insisted politics had nothing to do with the decision, the timing was bound to raise questions in an era marked by deep suspicion across party lines.

General Suleimani was not a particularly elusive target. Unlike bin Laden or al-Baghdadi, he moved about quite freely in a number of countries, frequently popping up meeting with Iranian allies or visiting front-line positions in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. He traveled with an air of impunity. His fans distributed photographs of him on social media, and he occasionally gave interviews. One former senior American commander recalled once parking his military jet next to General Suleimani’s plane at the Erbil airport in northern Iraq.

“Suleimani was treated like royalty, and was not particularly hard to find,” said Marc Polymeropoulos, a former senior C.I.A. operations officer with extensive counterterrorism experience overseas. “Suleimani absolutely felt untouchable, particularly in Iraq. He took selfies of himself on the battlefield and openly taunted the U.S., because he felt safe in doing so.”

That public profile made him the face of the Iranian network across the Middle East, the so-called Axis of Resistance, which includes groups such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza, the Houthis in Yemen and a range of militias in Syria and Iraq who share Iran’s animosity toward Israel and the United States. General Suleimani wanted to show that he could be anywhere and everywhere, an American official said, knowing he could be a target but obsessed with proving he had his hand in everything.

If General Suleimani acted untouchable, for years he was. One night in January 2007, American Special Operations commandos tracked him traveling in a convoy from Iran into northern Iraq. But the Americans held their fire and General Suleimani slipped away into the darkness.

“To avoid a firefight, and the contentious politics that would follow, I decided that we should monitor the caravan, not strike immediately,” Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, then the head of the secretive Joint Special Operations Command, recalled in an article last year.

Until now, Mr. Trump had shied away from military action against Iran too. While he talked tough after Iran was blamed for various attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman and oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, Mr. Trump declined to use force, at one point even calling off a planned airstrike with only 10 minutes to go.

An American official who asked not to be identified discussing internal deliberations said the president’s advisers worried that he had indicated so many times that he did not want a war with Iran that Tehran had become persuaded the United States would not act forcibly. But the official acknowledged that the strike was a huge gamble and could just as likely prompt an outsize reaction from both Iran and Iraq.

Westlake Legal Group iraq-embassy-baghdad-airport-attack-1578026455663-articleLarge-v6 For Trump, a Risky Decision Other Presidents Had Avoided United States Special Operations Command Trump, Donald J Terrorism Targeted Killings Suleimani, Qassim Defense and Military Forces central intelligence agency Baghdad (Iraq)

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

Here’s how the situation developed over the last eight days.

The operation culminated three years of rising tension since Mr. Trump took office and followed through on his pledge to withdraw from the nuclear agreement that Mr. Obama brokered with Iran in 2015. As part of a “maximum pressure” campaign, Mr. Trump reimposed sanctions on Tehran to strangle its economy while Iran tested the American president with a string of provocative actions.

The mission to target General Suleimani was set in motion after a rocket attack last Friday on an Iraqi military base outside Kirkuk killed an American civilian contractor, according to senior American officials. The military’s Special Operations Command spent the next several days looking for an opportunity to hit General Suleimani. 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 General Suleimani’s arrival at Baghdad International Airport. If he was met by Iraqi officials, one American official said, the strike would be called off. But the official said it was a “clean party” and the strike was authorized.

Mr. Trump, who was spending the holiday season at Mar-a-Lago, participated in multiple meetings on the operation and aides said that he did not struggle with the decision, unlike over the summer when he changed his mind citing possible civilian casualties. “It was a very straightforward decision by the president to make the call on this,” Robert C. O’Brien, his national security adviser, told reporters.

As late as Thursday, officials were still weighing other less inflammatory options, including strikes against Iranian ships, missile batteries or militias in Iraq, one official said. But aides noted that Mr. Trump has grown wary of warnings that bold actions will result in negative consequences since in some cases those have not materialized, notably in his trade war.

The president kept the discussions to a tight circle that included Mr. O’Brien; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo; Defense Secretary Marc T. Esper; Gina Haspel, the C.I.A. director; Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff; and Eric Ueland, the president’s legislative liaison. Left out of the loop was the White House communications operation.

Mr. Pompeo has been one of the administration’s most persistent Iran hawks and the public face of the sanctions campaign against Iran since Mr. Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear agreement brokered by Mr. Obama.

As a congressman, Mr. Pompeo assailed the former secretary of state Hillary Clinton over the deadly attack on an American diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, and he has been obsessed with embassy security in the Middle East, and in Iraq in particular, according to former officials and associates. The violent protests in recent days at the Baghdad Embassy spooked the secretary, officials said, prompting him to cancel an important trip to Ukraine.

The administration did not offer a legal justification for the strike but appeared to be relying on the claim that it was a matter of self-defense under international law and pursuant to the president’s constitutional powers as commander in chief. “We had the right to self-defense,” Mr. O’Brien said.

The strike was particularly unusual in that it targeted a top official in a national government. Since the late 1970s, an executive order has banned “assassinations.” But that constraint, while still in place on paper, has eroded in the fight against terrorism. Legal teams under presidents of both parties have argued that the term “assassination,” which is not defined by federal law or the order, does not cover killing terrorists and other people deemed to pose an imminent threat to the United States because that would instead be self-defense.

Against that backdrop, it may be relevant that last year, Mr. Trump designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization — the first time that the United States had so designated part of another nation’s government.

However the lawyers rationalized it, General McChrystal, who passed on taking the shot at General Suleimani 13 years ago, said Mr. Trump was right to take it now. “The targeting was appropriate given Suleimani’s very public role in orchestrating Iranian attacks on the U.S. and our allies,” he said in an email.

But the general added a somber warning: “We can’t consider this as an isolated action. As with all such actions it will impact the dynamics of the region, and Iran will likely feel compelled to respond in kind. There is the potential for a stair-step escalation of attacks and we must think several moves ahead to determine how far we will take this — and what the new level of conflict we are prepared to engage in.”

Eric Schmitt, Helene Cooper, Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Peter Baker reported from Washington, and Maggie Haberman from Palm Beach, Fla. Edward Wong and Charlie Savage contributed reporting from Washington, and Ben Hubbard from Beirut, Lebanon.

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