International media have revealed statements by “American officials” that the American air strike that killed the Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani on Friday may deter, rather than provoke, Iranian violence against American targets, despite Tehran’s pledge to revenge.
In statements to reporters, the officials described the air strike as a self-defense against imminent attacks that could have killed hundreds of Americans in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and others.
And many American analysts expected Iran to respond to the killing of Soleimani, and said that it would likely take time to determine this, and that it would not respond as much as would prevent the outbreak of all-out war.
Although he acknowledged that the killing of Soleimani could set off a new cycle of violence, a senior US official said that the operation at least deprived Tehran of one of its most cunning leaders.
Another US official said that he did not expect an Iranian response “because we speak a language the regime understands.”
Washington has long considered Soleimani an enemy of his hands stained with American blood, including hundreds of soldiers who were killed in the Iraq war, with Iranian-made explosive devices.
A US official confirmed to reporters that Soleimani was responsible for the deaths of 608 Americans in Iraq.