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Supreme leader emotional as Iran mourns top general

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Iran’s supreme leader fought back tears Monday as a sea of black-clad mourners paid homage to the top commander killed in last week’s US drone strike that inflamed tensions across the Middle East.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei choked up as he prayed over the remains of Qasem Soleimani, the slain head of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force, at Tehran University.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (L), accompanied by Ebrahim Raisi, Chief Justice of Iran, in front of the coffin of slain Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani

The targeted killing of 62-year-old Soleimani ordered by US President Donald Trump saw Iran vow “severe revenge” before it also took a further step back from the already tattered 2015 nuclear accord with world powers.

In an escalating war of words that has heightened international concern and rattled financial markets, Trump threatened yet more “major retaliation” if Tehran hits back, including strikes on Iranian cultural sites.

Writing in all-caps on Monday, Trump tweeted: “IRAN WILL NEVER HAVE A NUCLEAR WEAPON!”

Iraq’s parliament has meanwhile demanded the government expel the 5,200 American troops stationed in the country in response to the drone attack in Baghdad which also killed top Iraqi military figure Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

Trump has warned a forced departure of US troops would prompt sanctions against Iraq that would “make Iranian sanctions look somewhat tame”.

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