The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps — a designated terrorist organization which is also branch of the Iranian armed forces — neither forgives nor forgets, apparently.
In January 2020, you may recall, the IRGC made headlines because then-President Donald Trump ordered a drone strike that killed the head of the organization, Maj. Gen. Kasem Soleimani, in Iraq. This led to threats of escalation and the accidental shootdown of a airliner by Iranian forces. The Trump administration still refused to budge.
Now, in a new video released on the social media service Telegram, channel admins have threatened to kill both former President Trump and other top U.S. defense officials by any means necessary.
The video was first reported by the Middle East Media Research Institute, or MEMRI.
“On January 9, 2023, the IRGC-affiliated ‘SEPAHCYBERY’ Telegram channel published an animated video depicting an evidence board with photos of former U.S. President Donald Trump and several top U.S. defense officials,” their report stated.
“The video also featured footage of these officials, images of various weapons (including guns, explosives and poison), footage and images from crime scenes, and a caption that reads: ‘The perpetrators of general Soleimani martyrdom will be punished for their actions. We will determine how and when to punish. Coming soon …’ The video ends with an image of the IRGC’s logo and the IRGC’s official Telegram handle.
“The U.S. officials shown on the evidence board are: former National Security Advisor Robert C. O’Brien; Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley; former NSC MENA affairs director Robert Greenway; U.S. Cyber Command Commander Gen. Paul Nakasone; former Deputy National Security Advisor for MENA Affairs Victoria Coates; former Deputy National Security Advisor Matthew Pottinger; Director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Vice Admiral Frank Whitworth; Joint Chiefs of Staff director Lt. Gen. Andrew Poppas; and former U.S. CENTCOM commander Gen. Kenneth McKenzie.”
The video, which is almost two minutes long, includes disturbing imagery:
WARNING: The following video contains graphic footage that some viewers will find offensive.
One of the voices calling for action is Kazem Gharibabadi, the vice president of the country’s Judiciary for International Affairs and secretary general of the country’s High Council for Human Rights. (Do try to stifle a dark laugh on that one.)
Gharibabadi said Tuesday that 94 U.S. citizens have been indicted in the attack and added that — here’s a shocker — Washington isn’t cooperating with them on this, according to Newsweek.
He added “the three main accused” were Trump, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former U.S. Central Command Chief Kenneth McKenzie.
He added that “no person will be immune from judicial proceedings.”
The day before, a statement from the IRGC said “revenge against the perpetrators and killers of the martyr Soleimani as soon as possible is a definite and inviolable manner.”
Meanwhile, Iranian Defense Minister Mohammad-Reza Gharaei Ashtiani said “avenging the blood of General Soleimani is on the permanent agenda of the country’s armed forces, and the commanders and perpetrators of this cowardly assassination will receive their disgraceful punishment at a time and place they do not even think about, and the Islamic Republic of Iran will determine its time and place.”
“The fingers of the soldiers of this land are on the trigger for that historical moment,” he added.
This isn’t the first time Trump has been threatened with arrest from the Middle East. Just days prior, the Iraqi supreme court issued an “arrest warrant” for Trump for Soleimani’s killing. Obviously, nothing is expected to come of it.
The Biden administration says they’re taking the threats seriously — and not just because some of their own are apparent targets.
“Iran continues to plot against U.S. citizens and interests as so-called revenge for the death of Qassem Soleimani, including by threatening current and former U.S. officials,” a State Department representative said, Newsweek reported.
“So let us be clear: The United States will protect and defend its citizens,” the representative continued. “This includes present and former U.S. government officials.”
Can they, though?
That means standing up to the Iranians — something Joe Biden has been extremely loath to do, particularly considering his desire to start nuclear peace talks at all costs. The White House may be sounding a tough line right now. Let’s see if that translates into action. In the meantime, it’s a reminder of why our enemies actually hated Trump: There was no question a threat like this would end badly for them. In cases like this, the former president made sure his words were backed up with firepower.
Author: C. Douglas Golden