"The Supreme National Security Council of the Islamic Republic of Iran would like to express its condolences on the terrorist assassination of the brave commander of Islam and gallant chief of the Qods Force of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps, Martyr Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, holder of the Order of Zolfaqar as the highest military honor of the Army, as well as other counter-terrorism commanders particularly the indefatigable faithful fighter Martyr Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, to Imam Mahdi (May God Hasten His Reappearance), the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, fighters of the Islamic Resistance, comrades and revered families of the martyrs as well as all the people of Iran," a part of the statement said on Friday.
It noted that the faithful General Soleimani was a cause for pride and dignity of not only Iranians, but also all the Muslim nations and oppressed people across the globe, and added, "The martyrdom of this great commander of the Islamic Resistance is considered as a dramatic loss for the Muslim world and the noble people of Iran. Yet, the path of General Soleimani, shall continue as Imam Khomeini (PBUH), the late leader of the Islamic Revolution, once said that any flag dropped from the capable hands of an army general shall be picked and hoisted again by another general."
The statement referred to the martyrdom of other strong Iranian commanders in the past which did not cause any obstacle on the path of the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its defense capabilities, and said, "So how come the martyrdom of General Soleimani could create an impediment? The United States should be aware that the criminal attack on General Soleimani was the biggest strategic blunder of that country in the West Asia region; the United States shall not be relieved easily and painlessly from the consequences of such a miscalculation."
"As stated by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution in his recent message, a tough revenge is awaiting the criminals who spilled the noble blood of General Soleimani. These criminals shall face the strongest retribution of revengers of the blood of General Soleimani in the right time and the right place. Without doubt, the path of Jihad and Resistance shall continue with doubled motivation and the tree of resistance shall get stronger and thinker on a daily basis. Victory belongs to those who struggle in this auspicious path; and those who are cheering the murder of General Soleimani should be aware that such blind and cowardly acts would only result in strengthening the determination of the Islamic Republic of Iran to actively keep on the policy of resistance while making their punishment and failure more aggravated and immediate," it underlined.
The SNSC stressed in its statement that without doubt, this assassination was a revenge taken, on behalf of Daesh (ISIL) and Takfiri terrorists on the great counter-terrorism commanders, in the hands of the United States against the appreciative symbols of the war on terror in Iraq and Syria, and added, "The intertwined blood of brave Iranian and Iraqi commanders in this luminous path shall remain a symbol of the unbreakable bond between the two nations of Iran and Iraq in future."
"The Supreme National Security Council of the Islamic Republic of Iran in its emergency meeting today, while studying various aspects of this terrorist attack, took the proper decisions, and hereby declares that the regime of the United States of America shall bear responsibility for all consequences of this rogue adventurism," it added.
"Once again, the Supreme National Security Council of the Islamic Republic of Iran would like to pay homage to the high spirit of the heroic General of the Army of Islam, Haj Qasem Soleimani, and remains confident that the blood of this distinguished martyr, like the other martyrs of the Islamic Revolution, shall entail great blessings for the noble nation of Iran and the world’s freedom seekers…," a part of the statement underscored.
Lieutenant General Soleimani was martyred in a targeted assassination attack by US aircraft at Baghdad International Airport early on Friday morning.
"General Qassem Soleimani has been martyred by the US helicopters after lifetime efforts," the IRGC said in a statement early Friday morning.
The airstrike also martyred Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), or Hashad al-Shabi. The PMF media arm said the two were martyred in an American airstrike that targeted their vehicle on the road to the airport.
A PMF official said seven people were martyred by missiles fired by the US helicopters at Baghdad International Airport.
He said the dead included the PMF airport protocol officer, Mohammed Reda.
The Pentagon confirmed the attack in a statement.
The attack came amid tensions that started by the US attack on PMF units that killed 28 Iraqi popular forces. A day later, Iraqi people attacked the US embassy in Baghdad. On Wednesday President Donald Trump ordered about 750 US soldiers deployed to the Middle East.
US officials earlier suggested they were to engage in further retaliatory attacks in Iraq.
The developments also represent a major downturn in Iraq-US relations that could further undermine US influence in the region and American troops in Iraq and weaken Washington’s hand in its pressure campaign against Iran.
US President Donald Trump was vacationing on his estate in Palm Beach, Florida, but sent out a tweet of an American flag.
The attack represents a dramatic escalation by the US toward Iran after months of tensions. The tensions take root in Trump’s decision in May 2018 to withdraw the US from Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers, struck under his predecessor.