/Irans supreme leader Ali Khamenei prays over coffin of Qassem Soleimani

Irans supreme leader Ali Khamenei prays over coffin of Qassem Soleimani

Iran‘s supreme leader today wept over the coffin of the Iranian general who was killed in a US airstrike on Friday, as the warlord’s daughter swore revenge on US troops despite Donald Trump’s threats of a fearsome response. 

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei prayed over the remains of Qassem Soleimani as hundreds of thousands of mourners gathered in Tehran for the second day of the general’s funeral today. 

Speaking to the crowds which stretched as far as the eye could see, Soleimani’s daughter Zeinap directly threatened an attack on U.S. forces in the region. 

‘The families of U.S. soldiers in the Middle East will spend their days waiting for death of their children,’ she said to cheers. 

Warning of a ‘dark day’ looming for the United States, she said: ‘Crazy Trump, don’t think that everything is over with my father’s martyrdom.’  

Soleimani was killed in a US drone strike near Baghdad airport on Friday, shocking the Islamic republic and sending tensions spiralling in the Middle East. 

His remains were flown back to Iran last night, carried in a cardboard box which had its own row of seats on a passenger jet. 

Iran has vowed ‘severe revenge’ and yesterday abandoned the remaining limits of its 2015 nuclear deal in response to the airstrike. 

Adding to the tensions, Trump last night threatened a ‘disproportionate response’ if Iran strikes against US targets and has warned he will target Iranian cultural sites in a US response. 

Trump is also threatening Iraq after the country’s parliament voted to kick out US troops, sparking fears of an ISIS resurgence in Iraq.  

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (fourth from left) wept over the remains of Qassem Soleimani as thousands of mourners gathered in Tehran for the second day of the general's funeral

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (fourth from left) wept over the remains of Qassem Soleimani as thousands of mourners gathered in Tehran for the second day of the general's funeral

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (fourth from left) wept over the remains of Qassem Soleimani as thousands of mourners gathered in Tehran for the second day of the general’s funeral

Mourning: Thousands of people gathered in Tehran for the second day of Qassem Soleimani's funeral after he was killed in a US drone strike on Friday

Mourning: Thousands of people gathered in Tehran for the second day of Qassem Soleimani's funeral after he was killed in a US drone strike on Friday

Mourning: Thousands of people gathered in Tehran for the second day of Qassem Soleimani’s funeral after he was killed in a US drone strike on Friday 

Iranian army cadets hold up posters of military commander Qassem Soleimani as they march during his funeral in Tehran

Iranian army cadets hold up posters of military commander Qassem Soleimani as they march during his funeral in Tehran

Iranian army cadets hold up posters of military commander Qassem Soleimani as they march during his funeral in Tehran

Cardboard coffins with the face of the dead man inside drawn on the side were seen resting on passenger seats on a jet heading to Tehran

Cardboard coffins with the face of the dead man inside drawn on the side were seen resting on passenger seats on a jet heading to Tehran

The bodies of Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis were transported to Tehran on Sunday

The bodies of Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis were transported to Tehran on Sunday

Coffins of Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis were seen resting on passenger seats on a jet heading to Mehrabad International Airport in Tehran last night 

Today the supreme leader was flanked by Soleimani’s son, his military replacement Esmail Qaani and Iranian president Hassan Rouhani. 

Mourners prayed together with Khamenei whose voice cracked as he prayed over the flag-draped coffin.

Some mourners shouted ‘Death to America’ and burned US and Israeli flags as the coffins of Soleimani and an Iraqi militia leader who also died in the drone strike were passed over their heads.  

Iranian state TV put the crowd size at ‘millions,’ though that number could not be verified. 

The scale of the crowds in Tehran matched those who turned out in 1989 for the funeral of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic republic.  

Soleimani will lie in state at Tehran’s famed Musalla mosque as the revolutionary leader did before him. He will eventually be buried in his hometown of Kerman.

Mourners marched towards the university, a key artery in Tehran, and formed a sea of black along Enghelab Street dotted with red Shiite flags and white signs. 

‘We must give a crushing response,’ said one of the mourners, a 61-year-old businessman who gave his name as Afkhami.

‘We must target whatever military base they have in the region. We must attack all that are in the range of our missiles.’

One funeral organiser has called on every Iranian to donate money towards an $80million bounty on Trump’s head, according to Iranian television.  

Esmail Qaani, who has succeded Soleimani as commander of the Revolutionary Quards’ powerful Quds Force, vowed revenge in an interview with state TV which was aired today. 

‘God the almighty has promised to get his revenge, and God is the main avenger. Certainly actions will be taken,’ he said. 

‘We promise to continue down martyr Soleimani’s path as firmly as before with help of God, and in return for his martyrdom we aim to get rid of America from the region.’ 

Mourners gather in Tehran today to pay homage to top Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani, after he was killed in a US strike in Baghdad ordered by Donald Trump

Mourners gather in Tehran today to pay homage to top Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani, after he was killed in a US strike in Baghdad ordered by Donald Trump

Mourners gather in Tehran today to pay homage to top Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani, after he was killed in a US strike in Baghdad ordered by Donald Trump 

Mourners burn flags of the U.S. and Israel during a funeral ceremony for Iranian general Qassem Soleimani today

Mourners burn flags of the U.S. and Israel during a funeral ceremony for Iranian general Qassem Soleimani today

Mourners burn flags of the U.S. and Israel during a funeral ceremony for Iranian general Qassem Soleimani today

Speaking to the crowds which stretched as far as the eye could see (pictured), Soleimani's daughter Zeinap directly threatened an attack on U.S. forces in the region

Speaking to the crowds which stretched as far as the eye could see (pictured), Soleimani's daughter Zeinap directly threatened an attack on U.S. forces in the region

Speaking to the crowds which stretched as far as the eye could see (pictured), Soleimani’s daughter Zeinap directly threatened an attack on U.S. forces in the region

Last night two rockets landed near the US embassy in Baghdad, the second night in a row that the area was hit and the 14th time over the last two months that US installations have been targeted. 

Friday’s drone attack was ordered by President Donald Trump, who said Soleimani had been planning an ‘imminent’ attack on Americans in Iraq. 

In a series of sabre-rattling tweets, Trump has warned that the US will ‘quickly and fully strike back, and perhaps in a disproportionate manner’ if Iran aims fire at US targets. 

The president said America had lined up attacks on 52 targets ‘important to Iran and the Iranian culture’, representing the number of Americans held hostage at the US embassy in Tehran after a raid in 1979.   

Talking to reporters aboard Air Force One as he returned to Washington last night, Trump stood by his targeting of cultural sites despite claims of potential war crimes.

‘They’re allowed to kill our people. They’re allowed to torture and maim our people. They’re allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people. And we’re not allowed to touch their cultural sites? It doesn’t work that way,’ Trump said. 

Trump has also warned he will demand billions of dollars in compensation from Iran’s neighbour Iraq or impose ‘sanctions like they’ve never seen before’ if Baghdad goes through with expelling U.S. troops. 

Yesterday the Iraqi parliament backed a recommendation by the prime minister for all foreign troops to be ordered out. 

Iraq’s rival Shi’ite leaders, including those opposed to Iranian influence, have united since Friday’s attack in calling for the expulsion of U.S. troops.  

There are around 5,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, deployed after ISIS seized Mosul in 2014.  

Esmail Ghaani

Esmail Ghaani

Qassem Soleimani

Qassem Soleimani

Iranian general Esmail Ghaani’s (left) threat on Monday in an interview with Iranian state television comes as part of the fallout over the U.S. killing of the top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani (right)

The scale of the crowds in Tehran today (pictured) matched those who turned out in 1989 for the funeral of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic republic

The scale of the crowds in Tehran today (pictured) matched those who turned out in 1989 for the funeral of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic republic

The scale of the crowds in Tehran today (pictured) matched those who turned out in 1989 for the funeral of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic republic

Iranian mourners crowded in to touch the casket and express their grief at the death of the powerful general

Iranian mourners crowded in to touch the casket and express their grief at the death of the powerful general

Iranian mourners crowded in to touch the casket and express their grief at the death of the powerful general

Following massive funeral marches in Iraq, his body was flown to Ahvaz, Iran. Military personnel carry Soleimani's casket in Iran. A tide of mourners packed the streets of the Iranian city of Ahvaz Sunday to pay respects to the top general

Following massive funeral marches in Iraq, his body was flown to Ahvaz, Iran. Military personnel carry Soleimani's casket in Iran. A tide of mourners packed the streets of the Iranian city of Ahvaz Sunday to pay respects to the top general

Following massive funeral marches in Iraq, his body was flown to Ahvaz, Iran. Military personnel carry Soleimani’s casket in Iran. A tide of mourners packed the streets of the Iranian city of Ahvaz Sunday to pay respects to the top general

Today’s procession in Tehran comes after Soleimani’s remains were returned to Iran on Sunday.

The Iranian general’s body was marched through the streets of Baghdad, before it was flown to the city of Ahvaz in southwest Iran, where around one million mourners gathered to pay their respects. 

A video of the journey posted on social media on Sunday five cardboard boxes resting on seats in the cabin of a passenger jet rather than being loaded into the cargo or baggage compartments. 

The Revolutionary Guards said the overwhelming number of mourners in Mashhad forced the cancellation of a ceremony that had been planned in Tehran on Sunday night.  

Tributes have poured in from across the Middle East and beyond for Soleimani, who was seen as the Islamic republic’s second most powerful person after the supreme leader.

Iraq’s top Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani on Sunday offered his condolences to Khamenei, according to the supreme leader’s official website.

‘Soleimani’s martyrdom caused great sorrow,’ said the statement.

‘His unique role over the years in fighting with Daesh elements in Iraq, and the great pains he endured in this path is unforgettable,’ it said, referring to the Islamic State group.

President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan also paid his respects in a telephone call to Rouhani.

A statement from the Afghan presidential palace said Ghani assured Rouhani that ‘Afghan soil will never be used against any other country’. 

On Friday Khamenei vowed ‘severe revenge’ as he declared three days of mourning. 

Last night the leaders of Britain, France and Germany appealed for a de-escalation.

‘We call on all the players involved to show utmost restraint and responsibility,’ they said in a joint statement. 

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