THE US ATTACK on Iran and Iraq will cement the unity of the two countries, Iranian President Rouhani said in a phone call with his Iraqi counterpart President Barham Salih on Sunday.
‘The blood of these great commanders, (Iranian General Qasem Soleimani and top Iraqi military commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis) sets the stage for a new development in the region. It will help cement the strong ties between the two nations,’ the Iranian president said.
‘Both the government and the people of Iraq have gotten past difficult days and I hope with the Iraqi government’s efforts, we will soon see more security, stability, and national unity in Iraq,’ Rouhani said.
‘We should act in a way that our enemies understand they can’t in any way disrupt ties between the two nations,’ he added.
Meanwhile, millions flooded the streets of Iran’s capital yesterday calling to avenge the murder of Soleimani, the commander of the Iranian Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), on the orders of US President Trump. Seas of angry people held up pictures of the murdered general.
Burning Israeli and US flags they chanted: ‘Death to America’ and ‘Death to Israel.’
Trump has now threatened severe sanctions against Iraq after its parliament voted to drive all US troops out of their country.
The new head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, who takes Soleimani’s position, vowed to expel the US from the Middle East.
Esmail Qaani said: ‘We promise to continue martyr Soleimani’s path with the same force … and the only compensation for us would be to remove America from the region.’
Trump said: ‘We have a very extraordinarily expensive air base that’s there. It cost billions of dollars to build. We’re not leaving unless they pay us back for it.’
Trump has doubled down on his threat to strike cultural heritage sites in Iran.
Iran has a great human heritage with precious archaeological monuments and cultural history which belongs to all of humanity, including Susa, founded as early 4,395BCE, and evidence of the first writing.
Talking to reporters on Sunday in the White House, Trump dismissed criticism from human rights organisations that such an action would be a war crime under international law.
‘They’re allowed to kill our people. They’re allowed to torture and maim our people. They’re allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people. And we’re not allowed to touch their cultural sites? It doesn’t work that way,’ Trump said.
Oil prices have climbed above $70 a barrel for the first time in eight months amid fears that retaliation against the US airstrike will hit the markets hard.
The attack has sent shockwaves through global markets, causing equity indices in Asia, the US and Europe to slump while the benchmark price of Brent crude climbed to its highest level since May last year.
Gold also surged yesterday to its highest since 2013 as investors search for safe havens from an expected stock market crash. Bullion neared as much as $1,600 an ounce.
Spot gold climbed 2.3% to $1,588.13 an ounce on Monday, the highest level since April 2013, and traded at $1,576.67 at 7:54 am in New York.