(CNSNews.com) – The Iranian regime and its terrorist proxies on Thursday marked the 40-day commemoration of the “martyrdom” of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Qods Force chief Qassem Soleimani with a combination of adulatory rhetoric and threats directed at the U.S. and Israel.
Addressing a memorial ceremony in Tehran, IRGC commander Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami said Soleimani’s death in a U.S. airstrike in Baghdad last month had breathed new life into the Islamic revolution and the region’s “resistance front.”
The “resistance front” is the regime’s term for an axis comprising itself, the Assad regime, and terrorist groups such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza, the Houthis in Yemen, and Shi’ite militias in Iraq such as Kata’ib Hezbollah – one of whose top leader was also killed in the airstrike targeting Soleimani.
“The U.S. was dealt a slap in the face,” Salami said of the IRGC’s retaliatory rocket attack on two Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops. “But the big and final slap is yet to come, until the last American trooper exits Muslim territories. This reality is upon them.”
Iran’s Press TV quoted IRGC Ground Force commander Brig. Gen. Mohammad Pakpour as saying that the path of Soleimani “will be pursued until annihilation of all terrorists and expulsion of the Americans from the region. The Americans are terrorists, and we should know that General Soleimani stood up to them.”
The U.S. holds Soleimani responsible for the deaths of more than 600 American troops during the Iraq War, and he oversaw a military intervention on behalf of the Assad regime that has reportedly cost untold thousands of Syrian lives.
Trump in his State of the Union described the slain general as “the Iranian regime’s most ruthless butcher” and “the world’s top terrorist.”
As Soleimani’s surviving IRGC colleagues eulogized him on Thursday, he was praised for helping Hezbollah battle Israel during a month-long war in 2006, and for making it possible for Hamas to lob thousands of rockets into Israel.
“He stood on the shores of the Mediterranean, so that Muslims would not be at risk,” Salami declared. “He thwarted the Americans’ policy for creating a new Middle East.”
Salami also used the opportunity to threaten Israel, saying that if it “takes any erroneous action” Iran will respond, and Israel should not rely on the U.S. to show up and defend it. “You should definitely look to the sea, because that is going to be your eventual residing place,” he said in comments directed at Israel.
In Lebanon, Hezbollah leader Hasan Nasrallah told Iranian TV that with Soleimani’s death the U.S. had “crossed a red line” and people were now prepared for confrontation. He added that he has receive applications from individuals for “self-sacrifice [i.e. suicide] operations.”
In Iraq, senior Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH) figure Hashem al-Haydari said in a ceremony in Qom that the killing of Soleimani and KH leader Abu Mahdi al Muhandis paved the way for U.S. expulsion from the region, and “the de facto annihilation of the Zionist regime.”
Haydari, who is also “director of doctrinal guidance” for the Popular Mobilization Forces – the Qods Force-backed umbrella of mostly Shi’ite militias in Iraq – spoke in front of a giant banner featuring images of Soleimani, Muhandis, and Khamenei, and the words, “Your blood challenges any adversary.”
Addressing the same event, IRGC Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naqdi echoed Haydari words.
“The great revenge will be the annihilation of Israel and expulsion of the U.S. from the region,” Iran’s state news agency IRNA quoted him as saying.