Scores Killed In Stampede At Qasem Soleimani’s Burial

……US Denies Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif To Visit The UN

Huge numbers of Iranians have turned out for the burial of Qasem Soleimani, the Iranian military commander killed in a United States drone strike.

A number of people are said to have been killed in a stampede at the event, according to emergency officials.

Soleimani is being laid to rest in his hometown of Kerman, with millions already estimated to have packed the streets for funeral processions.

Meanwhile the US has reportedly denied a visa for Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to visit the UN in New York later this week. Such a move would apparently breach an agreement guaranteeing foreign officials access to the UN headquarters

Soleimani’s killing has raised fears of a conflict between the US and Iran.

Soleimani was widely considered the second most powerful man in Iran behind Supreme Leader Khamenei. The US saw him as a terrorist and a threat to American troops.

President Trump adopted a tough stance against Iran after his election and Tehran responded with their own campaign. Tensions were raised further last month after the US attacked an Iranian-backed militia in Iraq it blamed for attacks on US forces.

Speaking at a conference in Tehran Mr Zarif said the US had “gambled big and made a miscalculation” by assassinating Soleimani

Germany is withdrawing a small number of soldiers stationed in Iraq as part of the coalition fighting Islamic State

The US denied it was pulling out of Iraq, after a letter from a US General suggested there would be a wihdrawal.

Iranian parliamentarians have approved a motion designating the US Army and the Pentagon as terrorist organisations. It has also allocated extra funds for the force once headed by Soleimani

In Kerman, south-eastern Iran, vast numbers of people were again seen in the streets with Soleimani’s body due to be buried today.

“The martyr Qassem Soleimani is more powerful… now that he is dead,” said the Revolutionary Guards’ top general, Major General Hossein Salami.

The Guards were set up to defend Iran’s Islamic system and is a major political and military force.

Mourners chanted “death to America” and “death to Trump”, reporters there said.

“He [Soleimani] was seen as a great man who was ready to serve his people… He must certainly be avenged,” an 18-year-old student who was there told the AFP news agency.

On Monday, Ayatollah Khamenei led prayers at Soleimani’s funeral in Tehran, at one point weeping over his coffin.

Unconfirmed estimates from Iranian state television put the number who took to the streets of Iran’s capital alone as “millions”. BBC