RNA - Expressing condolences over the martyrdom of the IRGC's top commander, Hatami said in a message, "Undoubtedly, the crime once again firmly disclosed the evil nature of the US and proved its support for terrorists in the region and Iraq."
The defense minister added that those whose masterminded the terrorist act and those who carried it out will face a crushing response.
The Pentagon has announced that President Donald Trump authorized a US military strike near Baghdad's airport which resulted in the martyrdom of General Soleimani.
Earlier today, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei had stated those who assassinated General Soleimani must await a tough revenge.
Iran's Leader: US Must Await 'Tough Revenge' Following Assassination of General Soleimanihttps://t.co/JXY0KiZCpu pic.twitter.com/hpfs4T6fA7— Fars News Agency (@EnglishFars) January 3, 2020
The top commander was martyred in a targeted assassination attack by US aircraft at Baghdad International Airport early Friday morning.
The airstrike also martyred Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), or Hashad al-Shabi. The PMF media arm reported that the two were martyred in an American airstrike that targeted their vehicle on the road to the airport.
The attack came amid tensions that started by the US attack on PMF units that killed 28 Iraqi popular forces. A day later, Iraqi people attacked the US embassy in Baghdad. On Wednesday Trump ordered about 750 US soldiers deployed to the Middle East.
US officials earlier suggested they were to engage in further retaliatory attacks in Iraq.
The developments also represent a major downturn in Iraq-US relations that could further undermine US influence in the region and American troops in Iraq and weaken Washington’s hand in its pressure campaign against Iran.
The attack represents a dramatic escalation by the US toward Iran after months of tensions. The tensions take root in Trump’s decision in May 2018 to withdraw the US from Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers, struck under his predecessor.