Tehran: A deadly tragedy struck Iran on Wednesday when two explosions rocked the city of Kerman, where thousands of people had gathered to commemorate the fourth anniversary of the death of General Qasim Soleimani, a revered Iranian military leader who was killed by a US drone strike in Iraq in 2020.
According to Iran’s official news agency IRNA, the blasts killed at least 103 people and injured 141 others, making it one of the worst attacks in the country’s recent history. The agency reported that the explosions occurred near Soleimani’s mausoleum, where a ceremony was being held to honor his legacy as the commander of the elite Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
The cause of the blasts remains unclear, but some officials have blamed them on “terrorists” who targeted the event. Kerman’s Deputy Governor Rahman Jalali said that the attack was a “cowardly” act of “enemies” who wanted to disrupt the national unity and security of Iran. He did not provide any further details or name any suspects.
Soleimani was widely regarded as a hero and a martyr by many Iranians, especially the supporters of the regime, who viewed him as a key figure in Iran’s regional influence and resistance against the US and its allies. His killing by the US in 2020 sparked a wave of outrage and grief in Iran, as well as a series of retaliatory actions that escalated the tensions between the two countries.
His funeral in 2020 also witnessed a tragic incident, when a stampede broke out among the huge crowds of mourners, resulting in the death of 56 people and the injury of more than 200. The latest blasts in Kerman have added another layer of sorrow and anger to the memory of Soleimani, who remains a polarizing figure in the Middle East and beyond.