President Donald Trump warned Iran of major US retaliation and threatened heavy sanctions on Iraq if American troops are forced to leave unless the country repays billions in military base construction costs.
Mourners attending a funeral ceremony for Qassem Soleimani in Iran. "USA and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation suspend anti-ISIS campaign", Chris Murphy, a Democratic senator from the state of CT, said in a tweet on Sunday. A former Iranian Revolutionary Guard leader suggested the Israeli city of Haifa and others could be targeted should the US attack Iran.
The supreme leader's voice cracked with emotion as he said prayers, forcing him to pause. But the ceremony in Mashhad was delayed for hours due to the size of the crowd who showed up and paid tribute at the Imam Reza Shrine, the heart of the Shia faith in Iran.
The recent death of Soleimani, who had visible political power in Iraq, may now influence the future path of Iraq, Sam Bazzi, a Middle East analyst and the founder of the Islamic Counterterrorism Institute and Hezbollah Watch told The Epoch Times.
Donald Trump insisted Iranian cultural sites are fair game for the U.S. military, dismissing concerns within his own administration that doing so could constitute a war crime under worldwide law.
It has also drawn some allies overseas closer to Iran. "His death, at least for now, has united Iran", a former senior pro-reform Iranian official told Reuters.
Today the tearful Ayatollah prayed over Soleimani's remains as hundreds of thousands of mourners gathered in Tehran for the second day his funeral.
Traditionally, Muslims are buried swiftly after their death, often the same day.
The Pentagon accused Soleimani of planning to carry out attacks on USA diplomats and service members in Iraq and the region, saying he was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans and coalition service members.
Crowds have crammed the streets in each of the cities, a welcome show of support for the authorities in Iran, whose economy has been crippled by new US sanctions imposed after Washington quit a nuclear pact between Tehran and world powers.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations said many more were reportedly refused entry to the United States, including many with US citizenship who were returning to their homes in the United States from an Iranian pop concert that took place on Saturday in Vancouver.
"President Trump didn't say he'd go after a cultural site - read what he said", Pompeo said on Fox News.
Those tensions are also now being felt in Canada with a group representing Islamic Americans reporting that dozens of Iranians and Iranian-Americans were detained at length and questioned at the Peace Arch border crossing linking British Columbia to Washington State. Trump said, "If it happens it happens".
Also among those in the crowd was Ismail Haniya, leader of the Palestinian group Hamas.
Soleimani was killed in a United States drone strike near Baghdad airport on Friday, shocking the Islamic republic and sending tensions spiralling in the Middle East.
Iran has vowed to retaliate and Iraq's parliament responded by voting on Sunday to oust United States troops based in the country. It also said it will still cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Tehran has often said it would choose the time and place of any retaliation in past standoffs with Washington.