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Iranian president tweets promise to ‘take revenge’ for U.S. drone attack

Companies in the region are evacuating staff from Iraq after Iranian president Hassan Rouhani tweeted in response to the U.S.-led strike in Baghdad.

Iranian president tweets promise to ‘take revenge’ for U.S. drone attack
[Photo: Getty]

An American drone strike killed Iran’s Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, commander of the Quds Force in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, at the Baghdad airport overnight. The strike was directed by President Trump, as confirmed by a statement issued by the Department of Defense, which called the strike a “decisive defensive action to protect U.S. personnel abroad.” Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was also killed in the attack, according to the Associated Press.

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What is the IRGC?

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has existed as a branch of Iran’s military since 1979 and has become an influential and powerful force in Iran. In April 2019, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had designated the group as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), and he tweeted today that the strike was in response to the “continuing aggressive threats posed by the Iranian Quds Force.” However, Pompeo also stated in multiple tweets Friday morning  that “the U.S. remains committed to de-escalation.

Meanwhile, Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s minister of foreign affairs, tweeted that as the leader of the Quds force Suleimani was “THE most effective force fighting Daesh (ISIS), Al Nusrah, Al Qaeda et al,” and called the strike “extremely dangerous & a foolish escalation.”

The domestic and international response

In a statement released last night, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that the strike was not authorized by Congress, nor had the administration received an Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against Iran.

A Swiss diplomat is acting as a formal liaison between the two countries, but both countries’ presidents have taken to Twitter to issue their own public responses to the escalating tensions. Tweeting overnight, Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s president since 2013, said the country would retaliate for the “heinous” crime.

In response, President Trump issued a thread on Soleimani’s death.

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According to the Associated Press, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, warned that a “harsh retaliation is waiting” for the strike, which the AP calls “a potential turning point in the Middle East” and “a drastic change for American policy toward Iran after months of tensions.”

The U.S. Embassy in Iraq, and some foreign companies, are advising staff to evacuate the country, according to the Financial Times, which reported that oil prices had risen by 4% this morning.

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About the author

Lilly Smith is an associate editor of Co.Design. She was previously the editor of Design Observer, and a contributing writer to AIGA Eye on Design.

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