Statue of slain commander Soleimani torched in Iran


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Iranian mourners hold a picture of slain commander Qasem Soleimani in Tehran, Iran, on January 6, 2022.
AFPIranian mourners hold a picture of slain commander Qasem Soleimani in Tehran, Iran, on January 6, 2022.

Several sculptures placed across Iran are dedicated to Soleimani who was assassinated in August 2020

A statue erected to honor slain Iranian commander Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani was torched by unknown assailants hours after it was unveiled, Iranian media reported Thursday.

Soleimani, who headed the Quds Force - the foreign operations arm of Iran's Revolutionary Guards - was killed on January 3, 2020, in Iraq by a United States drone strike at the Baghdad International Airport along with his Iraqi lieutenant and others.

On Wednesday morning, a statue to commemorate him was revealed in the southwestern Iranian city of Shahrekord.

But in the evening it was set on fire, the Iranian Students News Agency said, calling it a "shameful act by unknown individuals.” ...

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"This treacherous crime was carried out in darkness, just like the other crime committed at night at Baghdad airport,” senior Muslim cleric Mohammad Ali Nekounam said.

Iranian authorities unveiled several sculptures dedicated to Soleimani since his assassination two years ago, and portraits of the revered commander dot the landscape across Iran.

State broadcaster Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting condemned the latest incident as an "insulting" act that comes as Iran marks the second anniversary of Soleimani's killing.

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On Thursday, thousands of Iranians also paid tribute to 250 "unknown martyrs" killed in the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war. 

Ceremonies were held across the country, AFP reported.

"We are always suffering from the loss of martyrs, like Hajj Qasem (Soleimani), because they all fought on the frontlines with their heart," Ali Asghar, a mourner in Tehran, said.