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Trump threatens Iran with ‘fast and hard’ response on 52 targets

Thousands of Iranians lined Baghdad streets Saturday for the funeral procession for Soleimani. The Islamic Republic has vowed revenge for the Trump-ordered airstrike that killed him and several senior Iraqi militants early Friday Baghdad time.

Protesters in Tehran demonstrate over the US airstrike in Iraq that killed Iranian general Qassem Soleimani. Iran has vowed "harsh retaliation".

Protesters in Tehran demonstrate over the US airstrike in Iraq that killed Iranian general Qassem Soleimani. Iran has vowed “harsh retaliation”.Credit:AP

Trump appeared to respond to such threats with tweets justifying Soleimani’s killing and matching the bellicose language from Iran.

“Iran is talking very boldly about targeting certain USA assets as revenge for our ridding the world of their terrorist leader who had just killed an American, & badly wounded many others, not to mention all of the people he had killed over his lifetime, including recently hundreds of Iranian protesters,”the president tweeted. “He was already attacking our Embassy, and preparing for additional hits in other locations. Iran has been nothing but problems for many years.”

Trump also warned: “The USA wants no more threats!”

Iraqi parliamentarians were expected to vote on Sunday night Australian time on a proposal to expel all American troops from the country in response to the attack, potentially ending the 16-year US presence in the country.

An extra 3500 US troops were being sent to Kuwait, on top of 750 who arrived there earlier this week, as Iran promised “crushing revenge”.

The Pentagon said the troops from the 82nd Airborne Division were being deployed as a “precaution”. The US has sent 14,000 additional troops to the Middle East since May.

Hassan Karim al-Kaabi, the deputy speaker of Iraq’s parliament, said Baghdad would make “decisive decisions that put an end to the US’s presence in Iraq”.

US soldiers at Fort Bragg military base prepare to be deployed to the Middle East.

US soldiers at Fort Bragg military base prepare to be deployed to the Middle East.Credit:AP

“The time has come to put an end to the US recklessness and arrogance in Iraq,” he added.

Adel Abdul Mahdi, Iraq’s caretaker prime minister, said the US strikes on its soil violated terms of American military presence.

The US has around 5000 troops in Iraq, who have fought alongside the country’s forces against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).

Demonstrators took to the streets in cities across the United States and in London on the weekend to protest Soleimani’s killing.

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“No justice, no peace, US out of the Middle East,” crowds chanted in New York’s Times Square, holding signs that read “Stop bombing Iraq” and “No war or sanctions on Iran.”

There were similar scenes in Chicago, where around 200 protesters gathered outside the Trump Tower, and in Philadelphia, where about 500 people demonstrated.

Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER), a US-based anti-war coalition, said it and other groups planned around 70 protests. A statement on the group’s website said the protests were “against a new war in the Middle East and calling for the withdrawal of all US troops and bases in the region,” after the Pentagon announced it was deploying around 3000 additional troops there.

Air Force veteran Mike Fitzgerald protests in St Louis.

Air Force veteran Mike Fitzgerald protests in St Louis.Credit:St Louis Post-Dispatch

Meanwhile, in London, senior lawmakers from Britain’s main opposition Labor party joined dozens of anti-war protesters to urge restraint by Western governments amid tension with Iran.

The Stop the War Coalition organised the protest outside Downing Street, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s official residence.

“From our experience of the build-up to the (2003) Iraq war, it’s vitally important for us to stand up firmly and early for peace,” Labor shadow chancellor John McDonnell tweeted.

AP with DPA, The UK Telegraph

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