Thousands of Iranians took to the streets of the city of Ahvaz to pay their last respects to the top commander Qasem Soleimani, who was killed in a drone strike carried out by US military troops.
"Death to America" chanted the mourners as they gathered where the head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps-Quds Force (IRGC), Soleimani’s mortal remains arrived from Iraq before dawn.
Thousands of mourning men and women dressed in black beat their chests to the sound of Shiite chants as they carried portraits of the general, who was regarded as a war hero and a potential future leader of the country.
The procession was captured in a live broadcast on state television that showed mourners gathered in the southwestern Iranian city of Ahvaz with flags in green, white and red -- depicting the blood of “martyrs”.
“A glorious crowd is at the ceremony,” said state television.
“The presence of children, teenagers, relatives, veterans, families of martyrs of (the Iran-Iraq war) and defenders of Haram (those martyred in Syria) is a glimpse of the glory of this ceremony,” it added.
As per ISNA news agency, Soleimani’s remains, along with five other Iranians arrived at Ahvaz airport before dawn.
In a series of tweets on Sunday, US President Donald Trump threatened that the U.S. would hit 52 Iranian sites, including targets important to Iranian culture, if Tehran attacks Americans to avenge Soleimani’s death.
Trump said: “If they attack again, which I would strongly advise them not to do, we will hit them harder than they have ever been hit before!”
Sunday, deteriorating relations between the two countries took another hit as 2 missiles landed near the US embassy in Iraq. In response, Iraq's parliament warned the U.S. and other foreign troops to leave the country as the crisis deepened.
Qasem Soleimani's remains are scheduled to be taken to the holy city of Qom for a ceremony at Masumeh shrine, after which they will arrive for a funeral in his hometown Kerman on Tuesday.