The body of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Commander, Qassem Soleimani has reportedly arrived in his home town of Kerman in southeast Iran for burial on January 7. The top Iranian commander was killed in an airstrike directed by the United States along with other military personnel on January 3.
The local media showed thousands of people dressed in black in the streets of the town to pay their respects to Soleimani. Earlier on January 6, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei led thousands of mourners in Tehran for prayers at the funeral of the slain military commander.
While the US-Iran tension has taken a dramatic turn, the crowd in Tehran reportedly came out in the biggest numbers since 1989 for the funeral of the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Khomeini had led the revolution that set Iran on its political collision course with the US.
In the same lines, 'martyred' Soleimani was reportedly a 'national hero' of the eight-year war with Iraq. According to international media reports, Soleimani was seen as the second most powerful figure in Iran after Khamenei.
Reportedly, Iran's Supreme leader's voice cracked as he was saying the prayers, forcing him to pause. The crowds chanted 'Death to America' and one of the posters even said, 'It is our right to seek harsh revenge'.
Anger and grief have mounted on the country, as the coffins of Soleimani along with Iraqi militia leader, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, draped in national flags and passed hand to hand across the heads of grievers in central Tehran.
The entire funeral procession was live telecasted on Iranian media and showed the vast crowd blocking the streets which began at Tehran University and moved to Azadi Square. Just two days after Soleimani was killed by the US, Iran officially announced on January 5 its exit from the 2015 Nuclear Accord.
The Nuclear deal was signed by Tehran with the P5+1 nations during the leadership of former US President Barack Obama. However, Iran's breaching of the deal comes at the time when Iran has indicated towards 'harsh retaliation' against US as a response to Washington's unprecedented airstrike.