Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Friday announced a replacement for the slain Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani who was killed in a U.S. airstrike ordered by President Trump near the Baghdad International Airport in Iraq just hours earlier.
Brigadier General Esmail Qaani, who served as Soleimani’s deputy commander since 1997, will take over the helm as head of the country’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' elite Quds Force, Reuters reported, citing Iranian state media.
Khamenei said in a statement that the program tasked with carrying on Iran’s influence via proxies across the Middle East “will be unchanged from the time of his predecessor.”
Iranian state media reported that Qaani previously warned Trump in 2017 that “threats against Iran will damage America.
"We are not a war-mongering country. But any military action against Iran will be regretted," he reportedly said, according to Newsweek. “We have buried many ... like Trump and know how to fight against America.”
The Pentagon confirmed Thursday evening that Trump had ordered the attack that killed Soleimani and other military officials at Baghdad International Airport in Iraq. Iran’s top “shadow commander” was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more, the State Department said.