Live Updates: Pompeo Says Killing Suleimani Was ‘The Right Decision’ – The New York Times, The New York Times

Live Updates: Pompeo Says Killing Suleimani Was ‘The Right Decision’ – The New York Times, The New York Times

The U.S. secretary of state stood by President Trump’s ordering of an airstrike in Baghdad on Friday that targeted Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, a top Iranian commander.

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In a news briefing, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defends the deadly attack on the Iranian general and President Trump’s broader Iran policy.

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a press briefing at the State Department on Tuesday.(Credit …) **************Erin Schaff / The New York Times


Pompeo: ‘We got it right.’

In an appearance on Tuesda y, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did not provide any new details on what prompted the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani. But he said that Iran posed a threat to American lives.

Mr. Pompeo, a former C.I.A. director, said in a television appearance on Friday after the strike on General Suleimani that there had been intelligence showing an “imminent attack” on Americans and United States interests across the Middle East, which justified the deadly drone strike.

But since then, American officials have failed to provide any evidence to show what might have been targeted, or how soon an attack was expected.

“If you’re looking for imminence, you need look no further than the days that led up to the strike that was taken against Suleimani, ”Mr. Pompeo told reporters at the State Department on Tuesday. “And then you, in addition to that, have what we can clearly see were continuing efforts on behalf of this terrorist to build out a network of campaign activities that were going to lead potentially to the death of many more Americans.”

Some Pentagon officials have said the intelligence did not show an imminent attack. The alerts on threat streams were not unusual, they said.

“It was the right decision, we got it right,” Mr. Pompeo said as reporters quizzed him on President Trump’s decision to carry out the attack.

Mr. Pompeo scoffed at the idea that General Suleimani was in Baghdad on a diplomatic mission and said, given his discussions with the Saudi defense minister on Monday, Riyadh also did not believe that.

“Anybody here believe that? Is there any history that would indicate it was remotely possible that this kind gentleman, this diplomat of great order, Qassim Suleimani traveled to Baghdad for the idea of ​​conducting a peace mission? ”Mr. Pompeo said sarcastically to journalists at the State Department. “I made you reporters laugh this morning, that’s fantastic.”

He added: “We’ve heard these same lies before. It is fundamentally false. He was not there on a diplomatic mission trying to resolve a problem. ”



As Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani’s body was taken home for burial, a crush is believed to have killed dozens of mourners who crowded the streets of Kerman, Iran.

(Credit **********************************Atta Kenare / Agence France-Presse – Getty Images**********************************************

Millions were reported to have flooded the town’s streets to witness. the procession for the general, who was killed in an American drone strike in Baghdad last week. His death has fanned smoldering tensions between the United States and Iran, and fueled fears of a broader conflict.

The crowding and subsequent stampede in Kerman led to General Suleimani’s

burial being postponed, state news media reported. It is still unclear when he will be buried.

Photographs of the procession showed an elaborately decorated truck carrying General Suleimani’s coffin through streets packed densely with mourners, many wearing black and carrying pictures of the dead commander.

“Unfortunately, as a result of a stampede, some of our compatriots have been injured and some have been killed during the funeral processions,” Pirhossein Koulivand, head of the Iranian emergency medical services, told the news agency IRIB.

Fifty-six people died and (were **** were injured, the broadcaster IRIB reported on its website.

Images and videos posted on social media showed the aftermath of the crush, with emergency workers and bystanders attempting to resuscitate people lying on the ground. The lifeless bodies of other victims, jackets covering their faces, could be seen nearby.

The general’s body had been flown to Kerman after a funeral in Tehran on Monday that had brought even bigger crowds into the streets of the Iranian capital.

Iran issued new threats before the funeral procession .

In a fiery speech made in General Suleimani’s hometown on Tuesday, the leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps vowed to “set ablaze” places where Americans and their allies live.

“We will take revenge – a revenge that will be tough, strong, decisive and finishing and will make them regret,” the corps’s leader, Hossein Salami, said on Tuesday in a front of a crowd of mourners. “We will set ablaze the place they like, and they know where it is.”

“Today, the seeds of hatred for the U.S. have been sown in the hearts of Muslims, ”he added, according to Fars, an Iranian news agency associated with the Revolutionary Guards.

The pledge to seek vengeance echoed the rhetoric of many of the country’s leaders since General Suleimani’s killing on Friday. “Death to Israel,” the crowd chanted back, according to news reports. Israel, a close ally of the United States, has long been an enemy of Iran.

Thousands of mourners, dressed in black and carrying photos of General Suleimani, crowded the central square of Kerman, where the general’s body was taken for burial after a funeral procession on Monday in Tehran, the capital.

Before arriving in Kerman, the general’s remains were taken to the holy city of Qom, where thousands of residents came out, hoping for a chance to touch the coffin of a man the state has declared a martyr.

On Monday, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wept and offered prayers over General Suleimani’s coffin at the enormous state funeral. The ayatollah, Iran’s supreme leader, had a close relationship with the general, who was widely considered to be the country’s second-most powerful man.

General Suleimani’s successor swore revenge during Monday’s ceremony, while chants of “Death to America” rang out from the crowds in the capital.

State-run news outlets reported that

“God the almighty has promised to get his revenge, and God is the main avenger,” said Esmail Ghaani, the Iranian general who will succeed General Suleimani as head of the Quds Force, the foreign expeditionary arm of the Revolutionary Guards. “Certainly, actions will be taken,” he added.

Iranian foreign minister says he was denied visa for UN

Mohammad Javad Zarif

****************************, the Iranian foreign minister, said on Tuesday that he had been rejected for a visa to attend a Security Council meeting at the United Nations headquarters in New York, confirming reports from American news outlets that he would be barred.

Mr. Zarif, in

“The Americans are trying to create the impression that our request to attend the meeting was put forth following the assassination of General Suleimani,” Mr. Zarif said, according to the news outlet, adding, “The question everyone needs to be asking this lawbreaking administration is: What are they so scared of?”

Mr. Zarif later posted on Twitter about the situation, taking aim at Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and President Trump.

During a Tuesday morning news conference, Mr. Pompeo was asked about the visa but said he would not comment specifically on visa matters. He added that the United States would “comply with our obligations” under United Nations rules.

Robert C. O’Brien, the American national security adviser, was asked on “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday morning about the visa.

“I don’t think Secretary Pompeo thought that this was the right time for Mr. Zarif to come to the United States, and whenever he comes to New York, he spreads propaganda, ”Mr. O’Brien said.

The New York meeting plans to focus on the topic of upholding the Charter of the United Nations, and comes as Iran and the United States are engaged in a heated back -and-forth over the American drone strike last week that killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani.

The office of the United Nations secretary general did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Mr. Zarif visited New York in September to attend the United Nations General Assembly, after claimsthat his visa had been intentionally delayed. In August, the United Statesannounced sanctions on Mr. Zarif, a seasoned diplomat who helped negotiate the 2015 nuclear deal.

Embassies warned Americans abroad of potential attacks.

In Jerusalem and elsewhere across the Middle East, United States embassies warned Americans of potential attacks from Iran, as Iranian generals vowed to avenge the senior commander killed in an American drone strike.


In Jerusalem, the embassy told Americans on Monday to watch out for “mortars and rocket fire.” A day earlier, the United States Mission in Saudi Arabia Arabia had warned citizens to be prepared for “missile and drone attacks.”

The security alerts follow the targeted killing on Friday of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the leading figure in Iran’s foreign-facing intelligence and military operations.

At General Suleimani’s funeral in Tehran on Monday, military commanders promised vengeance. Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told advisers that any retaliation against the United States should be direct, proportional and carried out openly by Iran


That is a startling departure for the Iranian leadership, which has typically cloaked its attacks behind the actions of proxies it has cultivated around the region. But in the fury generated by the killing of General Suleimani, a close ally and personal friend of the supreme leader, the ayatollah was apparently willing to cast aside those traditional cautions.

In Israel, the United States Embassy on Monday


The bill aimed at the Pentagon’s top brass mirrored a Trump administration policy implemented in April that (imposed economic and travel sanctions on the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps) ********************************* as well as organizations, comp anies and individuals with ties to it.

That policy represented the first time an arm of a sovereign government had been designated a terrorist organization.

The Defense Department said the killing of General Suleimani was justified in part because of the corps’s terrorist designation. General Suleimani led the Quds Force, a unit of the Revolutionary Guards that conducted intelligence-gathering and attacks outside Iran’s borders.

Parliament expedited the bill through an emergency process, according to the semiofficial Iranian news agency Tasnim**************.

Also on Tuesday, Parliament allocated $ million to the Quds Force to “avenge” General Suleimani’s death, according to Fars, the state news agency.

The Defense Department mistakenly released a letter authorizing troop withdrawal from Iraq .

An official letter from the Defense Department informing Iraq that American troops were “ repositioning forces ”for“ movement out of Iraq ”produced headlines around the world saying that an American withdrawal had begun.

But the letter, drafted by the United States military command in Baghdad,was sent out by mistakeVideo player loading. The furor it caused prompted Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark A. Milley, to call an urgent news conference to deny the reports.

“It was an honest mistake,” General Milley told reporters at the Pentagon. “That letter is a draft, it was a mistake, it was unsigned, it should not have been released.”

“There’s been no decision made to leave Iraq, period,” Mr. Esper said. “There is no decision to leave, nor did we issue any plans to leave.”

General Milley said military officials had begun making arrangements for a withdrawal in the event that a decision is made to pull out. The Iraqi Parliament voted on Sunday to expel American troops from the country, amid anger over the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani on Iraqi soil. But Iraq has not formally notified the United States that it must leave.

General Milley said the military was “moving forces around” to consolidate positions. Not only were they not withdrawing, he said, but more forces were arriving from Kuwait.

“We will follow the laws of armed conflict,” the defense secretary said at a news briefing at the Pentagon on Monday when asked if cultural sites would be targeted , as the president had suggested over the weekend. When a reporter asked if that meant “no” because the laws of war prohibit targeting cultural sites, Mr. Esper agreed: “That’s the laws of armed conflict.”

The furor over the threat to Iranian antiquities was a classic controversy of Mr. Trump’s own creation, the apparent result of an impulsive threat and his refusal to back down in the face of criticism. While Mr. Trump declared on Saturday that the United States had identified 75 potential targets in Iran, none of them qualified as cultural sites, according to an administration official who asked not to be identified correcting the president.

Audrey Azoulay, the director-general of UNESCO, met with the Iranian ambassador to the organization on Monday to discuss the current situation, and issued a statement pointing to international agreements that condemn acts of destruction of cultural heritage (**********************************.

“Ms. Azoulay stressed the universality of cultural and natural heritage as vectors of peace and dialogue between peoples, which the international community has a duty to protect and preserve for future generations, ”UNESCO said in the statement.

Germany announced on Tuesday that it would pull a contingent of its troops out of Iraq, given “recent developments.”

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the German defense minister, said over the weekend that about (soldiers taking part in the international coalition to defeat the Islamic State would be confined to their bases but would remain in the region.

On Sunday, the German Army’s inspector general decided that a planned rotation of troops to forward bases in Ir aq would not be taking place, the Defense Ministry said on Twitter.

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