International tensions continue to build as mourning turns to tragedy in Iran where millions have marched to honor the slain military leader.
The ire aimed at President Donald Trump and the United States only grew on Tuesday after dozens of mourners were killed and more than 200 more injured when a stampede broke out at the massive funeral procession for Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani, who the U.S. assassinated with a bombing last week in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.
Iranian media reported that at least 40 people were killed in Soleimani's hometown of Kerman, where hundreds of thousands of marched to honor and mourn the slain military leader.
"Unfortunately as a result of the stampede, some of our compatriots have been injured and some have been killed during the funeral processions," Pir-Hossein Koulivand, the head of Iran's emergency medical services, told state television.
According to Press TV, millions of mourners carried Soleimani's body from the city's Azadi Square to his final resting place in what is called the martyrs' cemetery.
The Associated Press reports:
Soleimani's death has sparked calls across Iran for revenge against America for a slaying that's drastically raised tensions across the Middle East. The U.S. government warned ships of an unspecified threat from Iran across all the Mideast's waterways, crucial routes for global energy supplies. Meanwhile, the U.S. Air Force launched a drill with 52 stealth bombers in Utah, just days after President Donald Trump threatened to hit 52 sites in Iran.
With reports indicating the burial of Soleimani has been postponed due to the tragedy at the funeral procession, CNN Tuesday morning aired a new interview with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, who said that Trump's assassination of Soleimani and other Iranian officials would have grave consequences for the United States. Zarif added that America's day of military occupation in the Middle East are numbered.
The killing of Soleimani and others, said Zarif, was "an act of aggression against Iran, and it amounts to an armed attack against Iran, and we will respond. But we will respond proportionately."
And Zarif rejected the idea that Trump has made the U.S. more secure by taking this action. "That's the price for arrogance, for ignorance, for lack of respect," he said. "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," he continued, "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."
#NEW: Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif sat down with @fpleitgenCNN as the country deals with the death of Solei… https://t.co/rwda02KDtC— CNN Early Start (@CNN Early Start) 1578389123.0