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Jan 7, 2020

Iran raises death toll from Suleimani funeral crush to 40 - latest updates

Patrick Wintour



Javad Zarif prevented by US from attending UN

Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, has been told he will not get a US visa to travel to the United Nations later this week, AP reports
Javad Zarif told CBS This Morning, that the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, informed the UN secretary general, who in turn relayed to Zarif, that they did not have time to review my request.
It’s not clear that Zarif’s request has been formally rejected, which would trigger legal technicalities that could affect future visa applications.
A US official said the visa application had not been processed but declined to comment on whether it had been formally denied. The State Department cited visa confidentiality laws that bar the release of such information with certain limited exceptions.
Zarif had applied for the visa in order to speak to a UN Security Council session Thursday about the importance of upholding the UN charter.
Under its obligations as the host country of the UN headquarters, the US is required in most circumstances to issue visas to foreign officials for meetings at the world body. However, there are exceptions and the US has severely restricted the movements of Iranian diplomats in New York in the past.

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Suleimani's burial postponed

Suleimani’s planned burial in his home town of Kerman has been postponed due to the size of the crowd, after 40 mourners were killed in the crush, according to state media.
Fars News Agency said the revised timing for Suleimani’s burial will be announced shortly.
خبرگزاری فارس (@FarsNews_Agency)
مسئول کمیته تشییع پیکر سردار سپهبد حاج قاسم سلیمانی: مراسم تدفین به دلیل ازدحام جمعیت به زمان دیگری موکول شد. زمان دقیق مراسم تدفین بزودی اعلام می‌شود. https://t.co/KqRZYTtRPB
January 7, 2020
Updated

40 killed in funeral crush

The death toll in the crush at Suleimani’s burial has risen to 40, according to the state-backed Fars News agency.
Fars cited Iran’s head of emergency services, Pirhossein Kolivand, for the revised figure. It also said 213 people were injured in the incident.
Updated

Iran will respond 'proportionately'

The killing of Suleimani by the US was an act of state terrorism and Iran will respond proportionately, the Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, has told CNN.
He said: “This is an act of aggression against Iran, and it amounts to an armed attack against Iran, and we will respond. But we will respond proportionately.”
Zarif also said Donald Trump was threatening an international war crime by pledging to attack cultural sites if Iran retaliates against Suleimani’s killing.
“He has no respect for international law. That he is prepared to commit war crimes, because attacking cultural sites is a war crime, this disproportionate response is a war crime. But he doesn’t care it seems about international law.
Has made the US more secure? That’s the price for arrogance, for ignorance, for lack of respect. Their days in our region are numbered, not because anybody will take any action against him but because they are not welcome.
The United States has to wake up to the reality that the people of this region are enraged. That the people of this region want the United States out. The United States has been in in this region for many years and has not brought itself or the region any security. We leave it at that.”
CNN Early Start (@EarlyStart)
#NEW: Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif sat down with @fpleitgenCNN as the country deals with the death of Soleimani.@JZarif: "Attacking cultural sites is a war crime...but he doesn't care it seems about international law...Their days in our region are numbered." @cnni pic.twitter.com/W3LjGGcQSm
January 7, 2020
Updated

Fars new agency has released helicopter footage showing the huge crowds that have gathered for Suleimani’s burial in his home town of Kerman.
خبرگزاری فارس (@FarsNews_Agency)
مُلک سلیمان...
تصاویر هوایی بهت‌آور از حضور میلیونی کرمانی‌ها pic.twitter.com/03lTk0DErj
January 7, 2020
Updated

Iran’s state media have revised down the casualty figures from the funeral crush to 32 and 190 injured.
Fars News agency cited Iran’s head of emergency services, Pirhossein Kolivand, for the revised figure.
خبرگزاری فارس (@FarsNews_Agency)
رئیس سازمان اورژانس کشور: فوتی‌های ناشی از ازدحام در مراسم تشییع میلیونی حاج قاسم سلیمانی ۳۲ نفر است. حدود ۱۹۰ نفر نیز مصدوم شده‌اند.
January 7, 2020
Updated

Patrick Wintour
Germany is reducing its troop numbers in Iraq for security reasons after the US killing of Suleimani.
It is the first coalition withdrawal since the Iraqi parliament voted on Sunday to call for the withdrawal of US forces from the country. The non-binding resolution has prompted a chaotic response from US officials.
The German decision – set out in a letter from the defence minister, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, and the foreign minister, Heiko Maas, to the German parliament – underlines the extent to which the assassination may have weakened the years-long efforts of the coalition forces to fight Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Nato has already announced that all training of Iraqi forces has been suspended.
Updated

Iran considering '13 revenge scenarios'

Ali Shamkhani
Ali Shamkhani Photograph: Reuters Photographer / Reuter/REUTERS
A senior Iranian official said Tehran was considering 13 scenarios to avenge Suleimani’s killing, according to the state-backed Fars news agency.
“We will take revenge, a hard and definitive revenge,” the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Gen Hossein Salami, told mourners in Kerman.
Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and military commanders have said Iranian retaliation for the US action on Friday would match the scale of Soleimani’s killing but that it would be at a time and place of Tehran’s choosing.
Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of the supreme national security council, said 13 “revenge scenarios” were being considered, Fars news agency reported. Even the weakest option would prove “a historic nightmare for the Americans”, he said.
Fars News Agency (@EnglishFars)
Top Security Official: Iran Has 13 Scenario to Avenge Gen. Soleimani's Assassination, Even Weakest One Is Historical Nightmare for US pic.twitter.com/2EMNEaNkl4
January 7, 2020
Trump has threatened strikes on 52 Iranian targets, including cultural sites, if Iran retaliates.
Updated

Boris Johnson is to chair a meeting of the national security council and the foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, is to travel to Brussels for talks with his European counterpart, PA Media reports.
The so-called “E3” – Britain, Germany and France – have jointly called for “de-escalation” of the tensions between the US and Iran.
The Ministry of Defence refused to comment on reports that it is stepping up contingency plans to evacuate military and civilian personnel from neighbouring Iraq amid fears they could be targets for Iranian reprisals.
The Times reported that a team of about 20 senior military planners and liaison officers had been dispatched to the embassy in Baghdad over the weekend.
The Foreign Office was coy over reports that it was scaling back staffing at British embassies in the Middle East.
A spokesman said: “The British embassies in both Baghdad and Tehran are open. The safety and security of our staff is of paramount importance and we keep our security posture under regular review.”
The defence secretary, Ben Wallace, is due to update MPs – returning to Westminster following their Christmas break – on the latest situation in the region.
Raab also is due to fly to Washington later this week to meet US counterpart, Mike Pompeo, after the secretary of state criticised the lack of support by the Europeans – including the UK – for the US action.
Mark Esper, the US defence secretary, has been forced to deny that America was about to withdraw its troops from Iraq, where the strike on General Soleimani took place.
A leaked letter from a US Marine Corps commander said: “We respect your sovereign decision to order our departure.” It followed a vote in the Iraqi parliament on Sunday, backed by the prime minister, Adel Abdul-Mahdi, calling for the withdrawal of all foreign troops including British forces.
Johnson emphasised the need to maintain a coalition presence in Iraq against Islamic State when he spoke by telephone to Abdul-Mahdi on Monday.
About 400 UK troops are stationed in Iraq in the fight against Islamic State, while the US has 5,200, prompting fears of a withdrawal that could cripple the battle against the terror group.
Updated


Welcome to live coverage of the continuing aftermath from the US killing of Qassem Suleimani amid reports of a deadly crush at his funeral procession.
According to an initial state TV report, 35 people were killed in the incident at Kerman, Suleimani’s home town, where his burial is taking place.
Videos posted online showed people lying lifeless on a road, with others shouting and trying to help them. The crush was reported to have started when the burial procession got under way.
Iranian TV gave the casualty toll in its online report, without saying where it obtained the information.
Pirhossein Koulivand, the head of Iran’s emergency medical services, earlier spoke by telephone to state TV and confirmed the incident took place.
“Unfortunately as a result of the stampede, some of our compatriots have been injured and some have been killed during the funeral processions,” he said.
A procession in Tehran on Monday drew more than 1 million people in the Iranian capital, crowding both main thoroughfares and side streets in Tehran.
Updated

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