Crowds swarm Tehran to mourn slain Iran military leader Soleimani
The Iraqi parliament has voted to obligate the Iraqi government "to work towards ending the presence of all foreign troops on Iraqi soil,” according to the media office of the Iraqi parliament.
Iraq’s Foreign Ministry filed a complaint via two letters to the president of the United Nations Security Council and UN Secretary General, about the “American attacks and assaults against Iraqi military locations,” according to a Foreign Ministry statement.
The complaint was also about the death of Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, deputy head of the Iran-backed Iraqi Popular Mobilization, and others on Iraqi soil.
“These attacks represent a serious violation of Iraqi sovereignty and the conditions of the presence of the American forces in Iraq," the statement read, adding, “Iraq called on the Security Council to condemn the bombing and assassinations.”
Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the Iranian-backed Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, said today that he hoped the Iraqi parliament would draft a law calling for the departure of US troops from Iraq but that – if they don’t – Iraq’s “resistance fighters will not let a single American soldier remain.”
Addressing supporters at a memorial rally south of Beirut for Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, Nasrallah said his hope was that Iraqi lawmakers would end the US presence in Iraq.
If parliament cannot do this, Nasrallah said, “what I know about the Iraqis, and the Iraqi resistance factions is that the honorable [Shia] resistence fighters will not let a single American soldier remain in Iraq.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday backed President Trump's strong threats to Iran as the US braces for potential retaliatory actions by the country following an attack last week by US forces that killed Iran's top military leader.
"The American people should know that we will not waver. We will be bold in protecting American interests and we will do so in a way that is consistent with the rule of law," Pompeo told CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union."
Pompeo continued: "We're trying to restore deterrence that frankly is a need that results directly from the fact that the previous administration left us in a terrible place with respect to the Islamic Republic of Iran ... we have developed a strategy to convince the Iranian regime to behave like a normal nation. That's what our strategy is about. We've been executing it."
Some context: The comments from Pompeo come amid dramatically increasing tensions between Tehran and Washington following a series of US attacks in the region, including one last week in Iraq that killed Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani and several others.
Though the President has claimed Soleimani was planning attacks on US forces and that the action was taken "to stop a war," he vowed specific military action against Iran if it "strikes any Americans, or American assets."
Watch more of Pompeo on "State of the Union" below:
Supporters of the Iran-backed Lebanese militant group Hezbollah have gathered for a memorial rally in Beirut.
The message coming from the angry crowd is clear: They expect a war.
There's a sense of focused energy at this gathering. Lebanese Hezbollah has received support from Iran and the men here consider Qasem Soleimani to be one of their key leaders. Some of the women are dressed in black, carrying Soleimani's portraits.
They expect revenge and conflicts to be ahead. Many in the crowd are wearing yellow headbands with the words "Death to Americans" written on them.
Hassan Nasrallah, the head of the Lebanese Hezbollah, addressed the rally on Sunday, promising a revenge.
He said the deaths of Soleimani and Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis marked “the beginning of a new phase and a new history, not just for Iran or Iraq but for the entire region.”
More context: Lebanese Hezbollah has long been in a state of conflict with Israel and many are concerned there may be flash points. A spark of conflict between the two sides could end in a catastrophe.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry summoned the Swiss envoy in Tehran today to protest against President Trump’s comments threatening Iran’s cultural sites, according to state-run IRNA.
Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi told the Swiss charge d’affaires – who represents US interests in Iran and acts as a diplomatic conduit between Tehran and Washington – that Trump’s threats “are prohibited by the International Humanitarian Law governing the armed conflicts" and amount to” war crimes.”
Araqchi was referring to tweets by the US president threatening to strike 52 Iranian sites, including cultural sites, if Iran takes action in the aftermath of the targeted killing of one of its top commanders Qasem Soleimani early Friday.
“Araghchi said that Trump's hostile, threatening, and unlawful remarks are in contravention of the International Law,” IRNA reported.
Read Trump's tweets below:
The Iranian government is set to make a decision on the future of the nuclear deal on Sunday.
President Hassan Rouhani's Cabinet will hold a meeting Sunday evening to discuss the fifth phase of cutting down its nuclear commitments, which will determine the country's approach to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran’s Foreign Ministry said Sunday.
"Today's decision will determine Iran's policy concerning the implementation of the JCPOA and the future of the deal," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said Sunday at a presser in Tehran, as quoted by state news agency IRNA.
France, Germany and China have urged Iran to preserve the deal.
Mousavi also said that foreign media is trying to portray killed general Qasem Soleimani in a wrong way and that those attempts will not succeed.
He thanked the Iraqi government for the funeral ceremony for those killed in the US airstrike Friday, and expressed condolences on the “martyrdom” of Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis and everyone killed in the airstrike.
The European Union Foreign Affairs Chief Josep Borrell has invited Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to Brussels, the EU’s diplomatic branch wrote in a statement on Sunday.
According to the statement by the EU External Action Service, Borrell and Zarif spoke on the phone during the weekend about “the need for de-escalation” and “the importance of preserving the JCPOA [nuclear deal].”
The statement further states that in the call, Borrell “urged Iran to exercise restraint” and “carefully consider any reaction” in order to avoid further escalation. Borrell said a regional political solution was “the only way forward” and the EU was ready to support this.
The scale of Iran's influence across the Middle East in on display on Sunday.
In Beirut, the Iran-backed Lebanese militant group Hezbollah is holding a rally and a memorial service to honor “two martyrs Soleimani and Al-Muhandis.”
Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah condemned the killing of Soleimani and said that the US will not be able to achieve any of its goals by this.
Nasrallah has also said that the group would "complete his path and work day and night to achieve his goals."