With the large loss of Canadian life, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne and Transport Minister Marc Garneau both expressed sympathy for the victims. Champagne announced that he was in touch with the Ukrainian government, and Garneau announced that Canada was offering assistance in the investigation. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau insisted on transparency and justice for the families and loved ones of the victims. On 14 January, Trudeau said tensions and escalation between Iran and the United States were responsible for the shootdown.
Some U.S. individuals noted that since the airstrike was orchestrated without the specific authorization of Congress, there were a number of legal questions. The case was compared by AP reporter John Daniszewski to the drone killing of U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki during the Obama administration. Some analysts maintained that Trump had the authority to order the strike under Article Two of the United States Constitution, while the ambiguity of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists (AUMF) law may help Trump justify it.More Info
On 11 January, in response to the government's admission, thousands of protesters poured into the streets of Tehran and other Iranian cities such as Isfahan, Shiraz, Hamadan and Urmia. Video clips on Twitter showed protesters in Tehran chanting "Death to the dictator", a reference to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. In Tehran, hundreds of protesters took to the streets to vent anger at officials, calling them liars for having denied the shootdown. Protests took place outside at least two universities: students and protesters gathered at Sharif University, Amirkabir University and Hafez Overpass in Tehran, initially to pay respect to the victims. Protests turned angry in the evening. President Trump tweeted support for the protests. The mourning Iranians called Qasem Soleimani a murderer and tore up pictures of him, shattering the appearance of national solidarity that had followed his death.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
American politicians reacted along party lines. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell celebrated the attack, referring to Soleimani as "Iran's master terrorist". House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi referred to the attacks as "provocative and disproportionate", and introduced a "war powers resolution" requiring Trump's administration to end hostilities with Iran not approved by Congress within 30 days. Senator Lindsey Graham tweeted "To the Iranian government: if you want more, you will get more." On the other hand, Senator Richard Blumenthal stated, "The present authorizations for use of military force in no way cover starting a possible new war. This step could bring the most consequential military confrontation in decades." The Democratic candidates for the 2020 U.S. presidential election, political challengers to Trump, largely condemned the airstrike. One candidate described the killing as a wag the dog incident, parallel to the bombing of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Sudan by president Bill Clinton during his impeachment process.More Info
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