In Depth

‘A historic nightmare’: Iran considering 13 ‘revenge scenarios’ against US

Iranian security council moves to deny earlier claims about retribution plans

Tehran is reportedly considering 13 different “revenge scenarios” in response to the US assassination of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani.

Addressing a meeting of his government’s National Security Council shortly after the killing, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said that any violent response would take the form of “a direct and proportional attack on American interests” carried out by Iranian forces, The New York Times reports. 

The announcement marks a “startling departure for the Iranian leadership”, which has “almost always cloaked its attacks behind the actions of proxies it had cultivated around the region”, the US newspaper adds.

According to Reuters, the head of the security council, Ali Shamkhani, has reportedly stated that 13 “revenge scenarios” are being considered by the Ayatollah, who is said to have had a close relationship with Soleimani. 

Even the weakest option would prove “a historic nightmare for the Americans”, said Shamkhani, in quotes reported by Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency. 

The SNSC later denied that Shamkhani had given the interview, with SNSC secretariat saying: “A local paper yesterday committed a criminal act and attributed an interview to the SNSC’s secretary which had not taken place. Legal action is underway to understand how and and why the interview was produced and published.”

The SNSC’s claims that the interview did not take place have not been proven.

In a separate warning, a senior advisor to the supreme leader has said that the US will face “another Vietnam” if American forces do not leave the region, according to Newsweek.

Donald Trump has responded to the threats by warning that the US may attack 52 Iranian targets if Tehran retaliates for the killing of Soleimani, who died in an air strike on Iraq last Friday.

The US president claims the targets include sites of cultural importance to the Gulf nation - despite experts warning that such attacks could constitute war crimes if carried out.

Soleimani, who was considered to be the second-most powerful man in Iran, is being buried today in his home town of Kerman. Millions of mourners are “already estimated to have packed the streets for funeral processions” in Tehran and other Iranian cities over the past few days, the BBC reports.

Crowds in the capital yesterday chanted “death to America” and “death to Trump”.

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