On Wednesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said U.S. President Donald Trump’s life “will end” and Iran would not rest until it gets revenge on the U.S. for the January airstrike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad, Iraq.
In translated remarks posted on the Iranian president’s official website, Rouhani said in reference to Trump, “One of the effects of this stupid and disgraceful act was that Trumpism ended and in a few days, the life of this criminal will end and he will go to the dustbin of history, and we are very happy about this and we believe that the period after Trump will be a better condition for regional and global stability.”
It’s unclear if Rouhani was unveiling a threat on Trump’s life, or remarking metaphorically on his waning presidency. The warning comes just days ahead of the January 3 anniversary of the strike against Soleimani ordered by Trump.
Rouhani added that Iran “will not give up until they take revenge on [Soleimani’s] blood as its right.”
“The martyrdom of Martyr Soleimani was revenge against the Islamic Republic of Iran, independence of regional countries and revenge against those great nations that stood against the conspiracies of the United States and Zionism and foiled that conspiracy,” Rouhani said. Iran frequently refers to Israel as the Zionist regime.
Addressing the U.S. and Israel, Rouhani vowed to “cut off your leg from the region and we will continue the resistance until that day.” He also accused the two nations of forming the ISIS terrorist group and striking Soleimani because he “stood tactfully against their plots.”
The U.S. strike on Soleimani on Jan. 3 came after escalating clashes between the U.S. and Iran-backed paramilitary groups in Iraq. In December 2019, the U.S. linked those Iraqi paramilitary groups to a deadly rocket attack that killed one U.S. citizen and injured four U.S. service members in Iraq. The U.S. then launched its retaliatory airstrikes in response to the rocket attacks. Following the U.S. airstrikes, supporters of the various Iran-backed Iraqi militias held destructive riots at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, setting fires at the embassy compound and triggering a U.S. security response. Days later, Soleimani was killed by a U.S. drone strike alongside two leaders of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Front (PMF), one of the Iraqi paramilitary groups linked to Iran.
Since the U.S. strike on Soleimani, the U.S. has been anticipating retaliatory moves from Iran. In the days after his death, Iran did launch a wave of missiles at U.S. positions in Iraq, though no deaths were reported. The U.S. has been on alert for additional Iranian attacks amid increasing revenge rhetoric from Iran. On Wednesday, the U.S. deployed a pair of B-52 bombers to the region, amid reports of a potential “complex attack” against Americans in Iraq.
In his Wednesday remarks, Rouhani said Iran had already landed various “slaps” against the Trump administration in the year since Soleimani’s death. Rouhani said Iran’s first “slap” against the U.S. was through Soleimani’s widely attended funeral, during which more than 40 people were killed and around 200 more were injured in a stampede during the funeral procession. Rouhani said another slap came when Iraq’s parliament voted on a resolution to expel U.S. troops from the country in January. U.S. troops have remained in Iraq throughout 2020, though the Pentagon recently announced plans to withdraw about 500 of the 3,000 U.S. service members currently in Iraq by mid-January.
Rouhani’s remarks on “Trumpism” ending may reference the November U.S. election, wherein U.S. electoral college electors recently affirmed the election outcome for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, despite Trump’s ongoing challenges to the election results.
Rouhani has increasingly expressed optimism that a Biden presidency would see a U.S. return to the Iran nuclear deal, and an end to sanctions the Trump administration has imposed on Iran since leaving the agreement in 2018.