World War 3 fears have been heightened after Iranian leaders have sworn to exact harsh and “crushing revenge” on the USA after a drone airstrike killed Major General Qassem Soleimani. The murder of the Iranian commander of the Quds Force has sparked promises of “harsh retaliation” causing alarm as the latest move in a tense back-and-forth battle between the two nations has been dubbed “a declaration of war from the US”. But which countries are allied with Iran and the US?
How did speculation about the start of World War 3 begin?
The United States killed one of Iran’s top military commanders, Qassem Soleimani, in an airstrike in the early hours of Friday, January 3.
In a statement, the Pentagon said: “At the direction of the president, the US military has taken decisive defensive action to protect US personnel abroad by killing Qassem Soleimani.”
It added: “This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans.
“The United States will continue to take all necessary action to protect our people and our interests wherever they are around the world.”
The move backed by US President Donald Trump has been condemned by important Iranian figures.
Iranian Defence Minister Amir Hatami said: “A crushing revenge will be taken for Soleimani’s unjust assassination… We will take revenge from all those involved and responsible for his assassination”.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a statement: “Soleimani’s martyrdom will make Iran more decisive to resist America’s expansionism and to defend our Islamic values.
“With no doubt, Iran and other freedom-seeking countries in the region will take his revenge.”
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted: “The US act of international terrorism, targeting & assassinating General Soleimani… is extremely dangerous and a foolish escalation.
“The US bears responsibility for all consequences of its rogue adventurism.”
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also warned that “harsh retaliation” is waiting for the US.
While Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who is considered to be the only person in Iran more powerful than General Soleimani, tweeted: “His blood was shed by the most barbaric of men… The loss of our dear General is bitter. The continuing fight & ultimate victory will be more bitter for the murderers & criminals.”
The Hezbollah is a Shia Islamist political party and militant group based in Lebanon.
The group is among the most effective armed factions in the region, extending Iran’s influence to Israel’s doorstep.
Hezbollah was formed to combat Israel following its invasion of Lebanon in 1982 after which time it waged an 18-year guerrilla war against Israeli forces, eventually forcing them to withdraw from Lebanon in 2000.
The group has an arsenal of tens of thousands of rockets and missiles and extensive battle experience.
The group is allied with: Iran, Syria, Russia, Lebanon and Iraq, and also has alleged to be allied with Cuba, North Korea and Venezuela, although the latter two have denied the partnership…
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