U.S. and Iran must protect cultural sites, says UNESCO

U.S. and Iran must protect cultural sites, says UNESCO

U.S. and Iran must protect cultural sites, says UNESCO

Killing Iran's most powerful general marked a turning point in U.S. Mideast policy by elevating a conflict that had previously been more of a shadow war, and by putting in doubt the Pentagon's ability to keep troops in Iraq.

"Martyrdom was (Soleimani's)... reward for years of implacable efforts", read a graphic depicting US President Donald Trump being punched by a first emanating from Iran as missiles fly by.

Khamenei's voice cracked under the weight of the moment during a funeral procession unlike any in Iran's recent history. It also signals deep respect for the deceased. Iran has vowed to avenge the death of its general.

Demonstrations still rocked the capital and south on Sunday, with many protesting against Iran and the United States. Although there was no independent estimate, aerial footage and Associated Press journalists suggested a turnout of at least 1 million, and the throngs were visible on satellite images of Tehran taken Monday.

Trump also threatened sanctions against Iraq and said that if USA troops were required to leave the country, Iraq's government would have to pay Washington for the cost of a "very extraordinarily expensive" air base there. Ghaani has been sanctioned by the US since 2012 for his work funding its global operations, including its work with proxies in Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen.

Iran and the United States have been competing for clout in Iraq since the USA -led invasion in 2003 that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein.

Boris Johnson's official spokesman refused to criticise Trump directly but made clear the United Kingdom government would not support such a course of action, after the USA president said he could target 52 Iranian sites if Iran retaliated over the assassination of Qassem Suleimani - "some at a very high level and important to Iran and the Iranian culture".

Trump and Obama are tied for 2019's most admired man in the U.S.

Soleimani was one of Iran's most popular public figures, seen as a hero of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.

Soleimani was the long-time commander of the Quds Force, a unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.

Khamenei so revered him that he awarded the general Iran's highest military order in March.

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on Fox News that the parliamentary vote is "a bit concerning".

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the Europeans will talk to Iran and the United Nations nuclear watchdog and take a co-ordinated decision.

"This should have been done for the last 15 to 20 years, him in particular", Trump said. In 2015, Soleimani was quoted saying: "I ask God to sacrifice my life for you".

Tehran and Washington have engaged in heated rhetoric as world leaders have called for calm in the wake of Soleimani's January 3 assassination. Soleimani was the architect of Iran's proxy wars across the Mideast and was blamed for the deaths of hundreds of Americans in roadside bombings and other attacks.

"At a time when his unprecedented sanctions had stirred unrest inside Iran, the political elite has just been handed a rallying cry", wrote Mohammad Ali Shabani, a researcher at Soas University in London. Not even Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who founded the Islamic Republic, received such an honor after his death in 1989. Many asked why Soleimani, long seen as a threat by United States authorities, had to be killed now.

Although it's unclear how or when Iran may respond in full, any retaliation was likely to come after three days of mourning declared in both Iran and Iraq for Soleimani.

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