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US warns new Iranian general will ‘meet same fate as Soleimani’ if he kills Americans

U.S. Special Representative for Iran and Senior Policy Advisor to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Brian Hook speaks at the announcement of the creation of the Iran Action Group in the Press Briefing Room, at the Department of State, August 16, 2018. (U.S. State Department/Flickr)
January 24, 2020

The U.S. special representative for Iran warned Gen. Esmail Ghaani that if he plots to kill Americans, he’ll face the same fate as his predecessor: death by U.S. airstrike.

U.S. Envoy Brian Hook noted in the interview with Reuters Thursday in Davos, Switzerland that the warning was not new. Hook said, “If Ghaani follows the same path of killing Americans then he will meet the same fate,” Hook said, adding “that any attack on Americans or American interests would be met with a decisive response.”

“The president has always said that he will always respond decisively to protect American interests,” he noted. “I think the Iranian regime understands now that they cannot attack America and get away with it.”

The Pentagon stated that Qassem Soleimani, who was the head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)’s “elite” Quds Force, “was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region.”

“General Soleimani and his Quds Force were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more,” the Pentagon statement added. “This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans. The United States will continue to take all necessary action to protect our people and our interests wherever they are around the world.”

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Thursday that the United States’ warning is a sign of “governmental terrorism” and called on the international community to condemn Hook’s comments.

“These words are an official announcement and a clear unveiling of America’s targeted and governmental terrorism,” Mousavi said.

Tensions between the two nations have escalated since December, when the United States blamed Iran for the death of a U.S. contractor in Iraq.

Iranian leaders have demanded a drastic retaliation against the United States which responded by a number of attacks, including the Jan 2 airstrike that killed Soleimani. Ghaani replaced Soleimani just a few hours after the airstrike.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called for “severe revenge” before the Iranian regime conducted an airstrike in U.S. airbases, but no one was killed.

The airstrike did, however, kill 176 passengers aboard a Ukrainian passenger jet after it just took off from Tehran’s international airport. Iranian officials said it was unintentional consequence form “human error.”

According to Iran’s state-run media, ISNA, an Iranian lawmaker Ahman Hamzeh has announced a $3 million reward to anyone who kills President Donald Trump.

“On behalf of the people of Kerman Province, we will pay a $3 million reward in cash to whoever kills Trump,” Hamzeh reportedly said on Tuesday.

It is unclear if the bounty has the support of Khamenei.

Hamzeh reportedly also called for Iran to produce long-range missiles that could carry “unconventional warheads,” without specifying the type of warheads they might be.