In early January 2022, the Iranian regime marked the second anniversary of the killing of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani with dozens of ceremonies and speeches across the country. At memorial ceremonies, regime officials glorified Soleimani and his activity to implement the regime's vision of exporting Iran's Islamic Revolution and to expand the political and military influence of the Iranian revolutionary regime in countries across the region.
In their speeches, the regime officials reiterated promises of harsh revenge to be exacted against former president Donald Trump and members of his administration, who ordered Soleimani's killing. However, the painful blow inflicted on the Iranian regime by the killing has left it in a quandary: the fear of a massive American response if American troops are killed as a result of Iranian payback. Since Trump at the time explicitly warned that the U.S. would strike 52 targets in Iran, the Iranian regime settled for a token reaction of firing missiles at the U.S.'s Ain Al-Assad airbase in Iraq on January 8, 2019, and this only after announcing its intentions to the Americans in advance via the Iraqi government. Following the advanced warning, the U.S. military took measures to prevent loss of life, so that the missile strike killed no one. (For more on this, see MEMRI Daily Brief No. 337, The Iran-U.S. Crisis, Part III: Iran's January 2020 Strikes On U.S. Ayn Al-Asad Airbase – The Roars Of A Fearful Paper Tiger, November 10, 2021.)
In his early January 2022 eulogy for Soleimani, Esmail Qa'ani, Soleimani's successor as Qods Force commander, explained away the Iranian regime's inability to take vengeance against Trump by saying that the regime had its "own style" in all things concerning vengeance. He also shifted the responsibility for retribution against Trump to the shoulders of Americans on their own soil, saying that an American handling of this would be better for them than if Iran activated the resistance front on American soil, which would be far worse.
In the meantime, it appears that the Iranian officials' promise for vengeance against Trump is coming true only in animated films in which Iranians, especially Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, show great bravery. On January 12, Khamenei posted on his website an animated film depicting an Iranian unmanned ground vehicle entering a golf course at Trump's Mar-A-Lago estate in Florida and using a laser to guide a missile strike against a golfing Donald Trump. Prior to the strike, an Iranian soldier is seen in a control room reading written orders from Khamenei to kill Trump. The animation ends with the text "Revenge is definite."
To view this clip on MEMRI TV, click here or below.
The inability to take vengeance on the U.S. and the fear of its response has prompted regime spokesmen to claim that Iran's revenge would take the form of the U.S.'s expulsion from Iraq, where Soleimani was killed, or that it was by virtue of the Iranian resistance that the U.S. was expelled humiliated from Afghanistan.
Because of the harsh blow inflicted on Iran due to the killing of Soleimani, who was implementing the regime's vision of Islamic Iran's regional expansion, regime officials are trying to instill in the consciousness of the public the claim that as a martyr, his influence has become even greater than his achievements as a commander when he was alive. The figure of Soleimani serves the Iranian regime now as a symbol and ideological tool for inculcating the values of the Islamic Revolution in the younger generation, in the form of martyrdom and becoming a martyr and carrying out jihad. This, inter alia, is in order to justify the massive economic and human resources that the regime has chosen to invest in the enterprise of regional expansion, in light of the criticism of this on the home front.
Nevertheless, a statue of Soleimani was torched in the city of Shahrekord in southern Iran mere hours after its dedication, in protest against the regime.
This report will focus on a number of speeches by prominent officials marking the second anniversary of the killing of IRGC Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani.
Quds Force Commander Qa'ani: "The Motto 'Liberate Jerusalem'... [Is A Goal] For Now – And Our Final Aim... Is To Arrive At The Global Rule Of The Mahdi"
In his speech at the main memorial ceremony on January 4, 2022, Quds Force commander Esmail Qa'ani said: "The path of our martyrs is the path of honor and pride, and the distinguished martyr [Soleimani] raised their banner. We, the Shi'ites, are proud that all our leaders became martyrs. To follow in their footsteps, we must examine how the martyrs overcame and relinquished materialistic [interests]. We must live like the martyrs did, in order to follow their path.
"The motto 'Reach Karbala [in Iraq]' or the motto 'Liberate Jerusalem' are goals for right now – and our final aim, at this stage, is to arrive at the global rule of the Mahdi [the Shi'ite Messiah]."
Addressing the Americans who ordered the killing of Soleimani, Qa'ani said: "You are too small to know what is concealed in the rich culture of Islam and the Shi'a. You do not understand the meaning of martyrdom. You do not understand defense, jihad, and becoming a martyr. Do you think the path of the martyrs is ended by making them martyrs? Do you understand the mistake you have made? You have committed the greatest of crimes according to international law. Despite that, the martyr Soleimani is stronger [in death] than General Soleimani [was in life], and he now follows the path of truth in the world, advancing every day.
"Honoring General Soleimani means honoring all the martyrs of the resistance front. The enemy thought that this crime [of the killing], this most base of deeds, will end the path of the martyr Soleimani. The crime committed by Trump and his accomplices, both known and in hiding, is clear to us. No one [ever] humiliated the criminal [Secretary of State] Pompeo like the martyr Soleimani. Pompeo thought that his humiliation would end with General Soleimani's death. Did you think that you would strike [Soleimani] and that would be it? The criminal former president Trump, and everyone who [participated] openly and secretly in the murder of Soleimani, are now under the magnifying glass of the freedom-seeking people of the world. Islamic society and beyond – the Muslims, that is, the freedom-seekers of the world – will take vengeance on you that you will not forget for the rest of your lives.
"The U.S. retreat from the region was one of [our] goals, and it [the U.S.] was of course expelled [in more ways] than [by merely] leaving [the region]. The people of Iraq and of the region will not tolerate Americas. We will take vengeance against you – we have our own style, of course. Our style [of vengeance] is not that of criminals, but we have our own style. The path of resistance continues, and the sword of resistance removes the enemies from the path."
Qa'ani: "We Will Wreak Vengeance On Soleimani's Assassins Using Our Own Tactics, And Our Style And Pace Differ From The Enemy's Methods"; "Wherever Necessary, We Will Provide The Ground For Vengeance Against The Americans From Within Their Homes, And With [The Cooperation] Of Those Around Them, Without Our Presence"
Two days later, on January 6, 2022, Qa'ani spoke at an international resistance front conference titled "The Martyrs' Monument for the Protectors Of Holy Places [In Syria]." In his statements, he warned the U.S. that Soleimani's blood would be avenged, and that Iran would provide the ground for harsh retribution from within American homes. The following are the main points of his speech:
"The resistance front advances day by day, and this is a message to its enemies, Israel and America, who have escalated the crime. We have turned the schemes of the enemies into opportunities, thanks to the Islamic culture – both in the era of the Imam [Ayatollah Ruhollah] Khomeini [the founder of the Islamic regime in Iran] and in the era of Leader Khamenei. The resistance front advances day by day. Once, our enemies wanted to take up residence in our homes, but today our children fight them outside [Iran's] borders.
"America entered the region in order to harm the Islamic regime – otherwise, why would they have invested so much in Afghanistan? The Americans invested so much in Iraq – what were they seeking? They sought only to strike at the mind of this divine nation [Iran], which produces resistance and exports it to other countries...
"America is desperate to recall its forces from Afghanistan today, and, in the case of Iraq, it lies [by saying] that it has cut back its troops to 2,500 and that they are [only] advisors... These [American] ships are worn out, and the situation today is such that the front [that the Americans are] facing has weapons [capable of] attacking American ships wherever it sees them in the countries of the resistance...
Qods Force commander Qa'ani. (Source: ISNA, Iran, January 6, 2022)
"We will wreak vengeance on Soleimani's assassins using our own tactics, and our style and pace differ from the enemy's methods. There is no need for us to be directly present everywhere. Wherever necessary, we will provide the ground for vengeance against the Americans from within their homes, and with [the cooperation] of those around them, without our presence. If there are smart people in America, they should confront Soleimani's murderers themselves – it will cost them less than if the children of the resistance front wreak vengeance [on the U.S.]. Indeed, this vengeance has already begun.
"We are Shi'ites and we know how to wreak vengeance. The enemies will be completely uprooted from the region. If [the Americans] are smart, they must leave Iraq, or else the resistance front will make their exit from Iraq more humiliating than their exit from Afghanistan."
To the Americans, Qa'ani said: "You have insulted an awakening conscience, and will surely be attacked. The martyrs have taught us that we must never reach an impasse on the path of resistance. These martyrs and their families, whenever they come to us, ask for vengeance against the criminals who insulted the resistance front, and this vengeance will surely be realized."
Ali Akbar Nategh Nouri, Expediency Council Member And Advisor To Khamenei: "[Iran's] Insistence On Protecting Syria And Ensuring Its Security Was The Smartest Of Moves By The Leader [Khamenei] Toward Protecting Our Country's Territorial Integrity"
At a January 4, 2022 commemoration, Ali Akbar Nategh Nouri, Expediency Council member and an advisor to Khamenei, said: "With his martyrdom, this exalted martyr [Soleimani] played a special role in disseminating the Shi'ite school of thought and in protecting the ideals of Imam [Khomeini], the [Islamic] Revolution, and the Leader [Khamenei]. In this way, he showed how man can attain spiritual growth and spiritual perfection.
"God calls man the Crown of Creation because with his autonomy, there is no limit to man's growth. The objective example of such a man in our times was the martyred Hajj Qassem Soleimani, who attained that stature."
Ali Akbar Nategh Nouri, Expediency Council member and advisor to Khamenei (Source: ISNA, Iran, January 4, 2022)
Criticizing Iranian circles opposed to the presence of Iranian forces in Syria, Nategh Nouri said: "These people do not understand the plans of the French, British, and Americans in attacking Syria! Syria does not have such [large] oil resources, nor any significant wealth. Yet it is important because of its status relative to Iran and Lebanon. [Iran's] insistence on protecting Syria and ensuring its security was the smartest of moves by the Leader [Khamenei] toward protecting our country's territorial integrity. It was an example of foresight and intelligent planning – otherwise, we would now be fighting ISIS inside our borders.
"The Leader shrewdly sensed that they [the U.S. and its allies] had created ISIS in order to oppress the resistance axis and to disrupt the [land] bridge among the resistance factions. ISIS's evil was pushed back thanks to the shrewdness of the Leader, and, thanks to his resourcefulness and intelligence, the resistance fighters, led by the martyr Soleimani, succeeded, with their timely arrival in the field and their bravery, in foiling the schemes of the Americans and the French.
"How was Syria different from other countries, [prompting] the French and the Americans to exert so much pressure to bring down [President] Assad? It was because they wanted to sever the bridge between Iran and Lebanese Hizbullah and [Iran and] the resistance factions in Palestine, because once Syria and our line of communication is severed, and Hizbullah in Lebanon is under siege, then it becomes very easy to crush Palestine.
"In accordance with our faith, our doctrine, and our constitution, we must defend all oppressed Muslims. Defending Palestine, Lebanon, and Syria constitutes a defense of the territorial integrity and authority of Iran, and Soleimani stood bravely and defended the lands of Islam."
Rahim Safavi, Senior Khamenei Advisor: "The Minimum Vengeance For Soleimani's Blood Is America's And The Global Arrogance's Withdrawal From The Region"
In his speech at a January 8, 2022 memorial conference held by the security industries organization, Rahim Safavi, senior advisor to Khamenei, stated that the blood of martyrs like Soleimani would bring about serial defeats for America and that the minimal blood vengeance for his killing would be an American withdrawal from the region. The following are the main points of his statements:
"The minimum vengeance for Soleimani's blood is America's and the global arrogance's withdrawal from the region. We are witness to America's humiliating flight from Afghanistan, and all these are signs of the decline of America and the actualization of the great goals of Islam.
"Although the blood of the martyr Soleimani and the defenders of the holy places [in Syria] is being spilled by the worst of God's enemies, the blood of these martyrs will bring about serial defeats of America and of the Hebrew, Arab, and reactionary governments in the region..."
Rahim Safavi, senior advisor to Khamenei. (Source: ISNA, Iran, January 8, 2022)
Iranian Army Commander Elrahim Moussavi: "The Martyr Soleimani Has Become A Global Hammer That Daily Strikes The Brain Of The Criminal America"
Iranian Army commander Elrahim Moussavi said on January 11, 2022: "During his blessed life, Soleimani was the claw [on the throat] of the Islamic Revolution that stopped the breath of the regime of America and of the Zionist regime. Trump and his partners, who were stupider than him, assassinated him in their fantasy in order to free themselves, but the martyr Soleimani became a global hammer that daily strikes the brain of the criminal America. The martyrs have gone on the path of God and have persisted in the goal of God; they did not give up because of any obstacle or problem; they attained great successes during their lives and paved the way for the measures taken by the [Iranian and Muslim] nations with their blood."
Iranian Army commander Abd Elrahim Moussavi. (Source: ISNA, Iran, January 11, 2022)
Qods Force Deputy Commander Mohammad Reza Falahzadeh: "America Fled Afghanistan Because Of Hajj Qassem's Efforts"
IRGC Qods Force Deputy Commander Mohammad Reza Falahzadeh said in a January 4, 2022 video conference marking the anniversary of Soleimani's killing that it was Soleimani's "cultural and social services, and to the Shi'ite and Sunni unity in the Sistan and Balochan [province], that caused the enemy to not succeed in making the country's eastern region insecure."
He added: "If today America is forced to flee Afghanistan and the region despite the price [it has invested in it], this is because of the efforts and initiative of Hajj Qassem..."
Deputy Qods Force commander Mohammad Reza Falahzadeh. (Source: ISNA, Iran, January 4, 2022)
Ahmad Reza Pour Khakan, Armed Forces Judiciary Organization Head: "Had The Enemy Known That Because Of The Martyrdom Of Gen. Soleimani The Islamic Nation Would Unite Against The Arrogance [i.e. the West, led by the U.S.], It Would Never Have Made Such A Huge Mistake"
Ahmad Reza Pour Khakan, head of the Iranian Armed Forces judiciary organization, said at the same January 4 video conference: "Had the enemy known that because of the martyrdom of Gen. Soleimani, the Islamic nation would unite against the arrogance [i.e. the West led by the U.S.], it would never have made such a huge mistake [and killed him]. Perhaps the danger for them [posed by] Hajj Qassem's very existence was much reduced by his martyrdom."
Tehran Mayor Ali Reza Zakani: "America's Path Will Fail, And The Flag Of 'Allah Akbar' And 'There Is No God But Allah' Will Fly Over The Palaces Of The World'
Tehran Mayor Ali Reza Zakani said at a memorial ceremony on January 4, 2022: "When religion was called the opiate of the masses, [Iran's] Islamic Revolution entered the arena. East and West could not withstand such an explosion of the light of the revolution, and tried as hard as they could to extinguish it. But the school of thought of Hajj Qassem did not allow the enemy to reach its goal. The school of Hajj Qassem is of a man who worships God and loves the people and sacrifices himself for this people. The school of Hajj Qassem is the school of obeying [the orders of] the Leader [Khamenei] and of service to the people.
"The enemy sought to carry out crimes in the name of Islam in the region, but the school of Hajj Qassem did not allow this. The pure Islamic stream in the region was created with the efforts of Hajj Qassem and with Shi'ite and Sunni unity, and the enemy was defeated by the stream of truth.
"The martyrs shine like the sun forever. The result of [the spilling of] the blood of the martyr Soleimani and of the other martyrs was that the nations in the region united to expel the Great Satan [the U.S.] from the region. The blood of Hajj Qassem and his companions eases the path by means of which human society will thrive. We must stand alongside the flag held by the martyrs so that their path will continue. The path of America will fail, and the flag of 'Allah Akbar' and 'There Is No God But Allah' will fly over the palaces of the world."
Tehran Mayor Ali Reza Zakani. (Source: ISNA, Iran, January 4, 2022)
* A. Savyon is director of the MEMRI Iran Media Project.
 See also MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 9580, Iranian Supreme Leader Advisor Ali Akbar Velayati: 'The Countries Of The Resistance Front Constitute A Group That Is Unprecedented In The History Of The Region And The World'; 'Iran Is That Group's Main Axis'; Afghanistan Is Part Of The Resistance Axis, October 6, 2021.
 Irna.ir/news, January 6, 2022.
 Irna.ir/news, January 4, 2022.
 Iranian sources claimed that Soleimani's killing was avenged with Iran's killing of U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. James C. Willis and Israeli brigade commander Sharon Asman in a drone attack on a Mossad base in Iraqi Kurdistan in September 2021. However, both died under other circumstances: Willis was found dead in June 2021 at Al-Udeid base in Qatar, and Asman died of cardiac arrest during a training operation at a base in central Israel in early July 2021. See Farsnews.ir/en/news/14000631000175/Resisance-Frn-Takes-Revenge-frm-US-Israeli-Army-fr-Assassinain-f, September 22, 2021; Kob.com/albuquerque-news/airman-from-albuquerque-dies-at-military-base-in-qatar/6155235, June 28, 2021; Jpost.com/israel-news/article-6938472, January 18, 2022.
 Isna.ir, January G, 2022.
 Isna.ir, January 4, 2022.
 Isna.ir, January 8, 2022.
 Hinting at the missile attack on Ain Al-Assad base in Iraq and the traumatic brain injuries suffered by some troops there.
 Isna.ir, January 11, 2022.
 Isna.ir, January 4, 2022.
 Isna.ir, January 4, 2022.
 Isna.ir, January 4, 2022.