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Iran still seeking to kill Trump, general says

Published February 25,2023
Former U.S. President Donald Trump and his son Donald Trump Jr. are pictured during an event held to address the recent derailment of a train carrying hazardous waste, in East Palestine, Ohio, U.S., February 22, 2023. (REUTERS)

An Iranian general warned his country is still seeking to kill former U.S. president Donald Trump and his secretary of state Mike Pompeo in revenge for assassinating top commander Qasem Soleimani.

Tehran has repeatedly vowed to avenge the killing of Soleimani, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' foreign operations, in a U.S. drone strike on Baghdad airport in January 2020.

"We hope we can kill Trump, Pompeo, (former U.S. general Kenneth) McKenzie and the military commanders who gave the order" to kill Soleimani, General Amirali Hajizadeh, the Guards' aerospace unit commander, said on television late Friday.

Trump had ordered the strike in response to a number of attacks on U.S. interests in Iraq that his administration blamed on Iran.

Days later, Iran retaliated by firing missiles at a U.S. airbase in Iraq that housed U.S. troops. None were killed, but Washington said dozens suffered traumatic brain damage.

The United States and its allies have repeatedly expressed concerns about Iran's ballistic missile programme as well as its "destabilising" role in the Middle East.

In his televised remarks, Hajizadeh said Iran was "now able to hit American ships at a distance of 2,000 kilometres (1,243 miles)".

"We have set this limit of 2,000 kilometres out of respect for the Europeans and we hope that the Europeans show themselves worthy of this respect," the Iranian general said.

On Saturday, Iranian state television aired video of what it said was a newly unveiled "Paveh cruise missile with a range of 1,650 kilometres (1,025 miles)" developed by the Guards.

The official broadcaster reported on Friday that Iran was likely to provide Syria with the 15-Khordad surface-to-air missile system to "reinforce" its defensive capabilities.