On 12 January, protests erupted across Iran for a second day; in Tehran and in several other cities, protesters chanted slogans against the leadership and clashed with security forces and Iran's Basiji Force firing tear gas at the protesters. The protesters chanted that they needed more than just resignations, but prosecutions of those responsible as well. Tehran residents told Reuters that police were out in force in the capital on 12 January, with dozens of protesters in Tehran chanting "They are lying that our enemy is America, our enemy is right here," and scores of demonstrators gathered in other cities also shown on social media.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei vowed to take "harsh revenge" against the U.S., and declared three days of mourning. President Hassan Rouhani also said Iran "will take revenge". Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called the attack "an extremely dangerous and foolish escalation". Iran sent a letter to the United Nations, calling it "[s]tate terrorism" and said it violated principles of international law. On 7 January, Iran's parliament approved a €200 million increase in the Quds Force's budget, to be used in two months. Reuters reported that some Iranians including Soleimani supporters fear that a war could break out at a time of economic hardship and widespread corruption. Some older Iranians recalled memories of the Iran–Iraq War.More Info
In Iraq, outgoing Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi condemned the attack, calling it an assassination and stating that the strike was an act of aggression and a breach of Iraqi sovereignty which would lead to war in Iraq. He said the strike violated the agreement on the presence of U.S. forces in Iraq and that safeguards for Iraq's security and sovereignty should be met with legislation. The speaker of Iraq's parliament Mohammed al Halbousi vowed to "put an end to U.S. presence" in Iraq. The Iraqi parliament voted to ask the U.S. to withdraw their forces from Iraq. Muqtada al-Sadr, leader of the Sadrist Movement and the Saraya al-Salam militia, ordered his followers to "prepare to defend Iraq".More Info
Shortly before the U.S. Department of Defense announced the strike, President Trump posted a U.S. flag on Twitter. The next morning, he held a public statement saying he had authorized the strike because Soleimani was plotting "imminent and sinister attacks" on Americans. He added, "We took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war." He also said he did not seek a regime change in Iran. On 4 January, Trump tweeted that 52 Iranian targets (representing the 52 American hostages in the 1979–81 Iran hostage crisis) had been selected if Iran "strikes any Americans, or American assets". Iranian President Rouhani responded to Trump's warning: "Those who refer to the number 52 should also remember the number 290", referring to the 1988 shooting down of Iran Air Flight 655, by a U.S. warship in which 290 were killed. Among those targets were Iranian "cultural sites", and Trump subsequently insisted he would not hesitate to destroy such targets even after some said it could be considered a war crime.More Info
The Iranian government initially denied responsibility for the airplane's destruction, but investigation by Western intelligence agencies and the general public revealed that the aircraft was shot down by a surface-to-air missile launched by Iran. Mass protests calling for the removal of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei broke out in Iran on 13 January in response to the shootdown and government denial, which ultimately resulted in the Iranian government admitting that it shot down the airliner.More Info
On 9 January, the Instagram account Rich Kids of Tehran published a video captioned: "The actual footage from the moment the #Ukrainian flight was shot down by a Russian-made Tor-M1 missile just moments after takeoff from #Tehran's Airport ". The video was published at the same time the Iranian authorities were claiming technical problems for the crash. Qassem Biniaz, a spokesman for Iran's Road and Transportation Ministry, said the pilot "lost control of the plane" after a fire broke out in one of its engines, denying the Ukrainian plane was hit by a missile.More Info
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