Breaking a 5-day silence over its response for the US killing of General Qassem Soleimani, on Tuesday Iran said it was assessing 13 scenarios to inflict a "historic nightmare" on the US. "Even if the weakest of these scenarios gain a consensus, its implementation can be a historic nightmare for the Americans," Ali Shamkhani, the head of Iran's national security council, was cited by Fars news agency, adding that, "For now, for intelligence reasons, we cannot provide more information to the media."
Iranian officials previously said that U.S. forces in the region will be targets, and overnight the Iranian parliament on Tuesday designated the Pentagon and affiliated companies as terrorists. In response, the U.S. issued a warning to shipping in the Middle East over the possibility of Iranian action against U.S. maritime interests, the Associated Press reported, citing a statement.
Soleimani's death has rippled through the Middle East, with the U.S. and its allies on high alert for a retaliation attack by Iran.
Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran's foreign minister, said Tuesday that the U.S. would suffer consequences for the killing of Soleimani "at a time and place of Iran's choosing." Zarif added the U.S. must leave the Middle East and warned that if they don't, a new multi-generational war could erupt.
The leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Major General Hossein Salami, told tens of thousands on Tuesday for the burial of Soleimani in the city of Kerman that Iran was ready to "set ablaze those places Americans hold dear" over the killing of the former commander. Thousands chanted "revenge, revenge," as the IRGC leader declared "we will take revenge. The revenge will be vigorous and unwavering, woeful, and terminal."
"We will surely take revenge, but if America dares takes any action, we will set alight those places Americans hold dear. They know where those places are."
"We will burn the places they love"— BBC Monitoring (@BBCMonitoring) January 7, 2020
IRGC Commander Hossein Salami reaffirms Iran's vow to avenge the death of Qasem Soleimani pic.twitter.com/bCqxco1nsL
Earlier, President Trump outlined 52 Iranian sites that U.S. forces would attack if Iran dares to retaliate.
And while the world await for Iran to pick one or more of the 13 scenarios, on Monday the Pentagon dispatched additional forces to the Middle East, even as conflicting signs emerged about Washington’s commitment to remaining in Iraq.
The three-ship Bataan Amphibious Readiness Group was ordered to move to the Persian Gulf region from the Mediterranean, where it has been exercising, according to a U.S. official. The group, which includes about 2,200 Marines and a helicopter unit, follows the deployment of about 3,500 soldiers from the Army’s 82nd Airborne to Kuwait late last week.