Iranian Canadians react to U.S. drone strike that kills Iranian commander
CALGARY -- People from the Iranian community across the country are on both sides of the fence when it comes to the death of Qassem Soleimani. Iran’s top general was assassinated Thursday during a drone strike at the Baghdad airport. The order came from U.S president Donald Trump.
In Toronto, a group of Iranians celebrated in the street, rallying against Iran’s regime.
However, for other Iranian-Canadians, the deadly attack wasn’t a reason to celebrate. Abbas Hosseini and his family in Calgary were devastated by the loss
“He united Kurds, Arabs, Afghanis in Syria and Iraq to fight against ISIS and they managed to defeat ISIS," Hosseini said. "He was a very important person.”
Echoing Hosseini were hundreds of mourners who packed the streets of the capital in Iran. They chanted “Death to America” condemning the killing of a man they regarded as a hero.
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei vowed there will be severe revenge against the United States.
"His departure to God does not end his path or his mission," Khamenei said in a statement, "but a forceful revenge awaits the criminals who have his blood and the blood of the other martyrs last night on their hands."
Trump tweeted Soleimani has killed or badly wounded thousands of Americans over an extended period of time and was plotting to kill more. He also said Soleimani was both hated and feared within the country.
Duane Bratt, a political scientist with Mount Royal University, said previous American administrations had an opportunity to assassinate Soleimani but chose not to because of the potential blowback his death might cause.
“It’s hard to imagine Iran not responding, but they’re going to have to carefully calibrate their response,” said Bratt.
Still, Hosseini said much of that is propaganda and that the former commander was loved. Despite what he calls a tragic death, Hosseini hopes for a peaceful resolutionto the growing conflict.
“I don’t expect they (Iranian leaders) will react irrationally," he said. "Most likely, it will be (a) diplomatic (reaction), and (hopefully they) take this to the United Nations and complain, but the Iranian government definitely deserves the right to react,” he said.
There will be a protest and vigil against the U.S. actions Saturday at 4 p.m. at city hall.