Trump's Order to Kill Iran's General Is 'Act of War' Says Tehran's U.N. Envoy: 'There Will Be Harsh Revenge'

Iran's ambassador to the United Nations has labeled as an "act of war" the killing of the head of the Revolutionary Guard's Quds Force in a drone strike ordered by President Donald Trump.

Majid Takht Ravanchi told CNN that Tehran would avenge the attack in Baghdad which killed General Qassem Suleimani. When asked by CNN host Erin Burnett "Was this a declaration of war?" the ambassador replied, "In fact, it was an act of war on the part of the United States against the Iranian people."

He said that the U.S. had "already started a war against Iran, not only economic war but something beyond that. We cannot just close our eyes to what happened…there will be harsh revenge, Iran will act based on its own choosing, the time, the place, will be decided by Iran."

Iran's UN Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi
Iran's Ambassador to the United Nations, Majid Takht Ravanchi, at the United Nations headquarters on June 24, 2019 in New York City. He has called the killing of Quds general Qassem Suleimani an "act of war." Spencer Platt/Getty Images

On Saturday, thousands of mourners marched in a funeral procession through the Iraqi capital, shouting "death to America, death to Israel," The Guardian reported.

The procession started at the Imam Kadhim shrine, one of the most revered sites in Shia Islam. Suleimani's body will be returned to Iran for a funeral and burial in his home town.

The crowds in Baghdad also mourned the death of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, an Iraqi who commanded the Iranian-backed Kataib Hezbollah group and effectively led the Popular Mobilisation units, the group of Iran-supporting militias, the BBC reported.

Suleimani, 62, was in charge of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards Quds Force and helped spearhead the expansion of Iranian influence across the Middle East. The Pentagon accused the Quds Force of being responsible for the deaths of hundreds of U.S. soldiers.

In an address from his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, on Friday, a defiant Trump said: "We took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war. Soleimani was plotting imminent and sinister attacks on American diplomats and military personnel, but we caught him in the act and terminated him."

Top Democrats have criticized Trump's move, among them, 2020 election contenders Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren.

There have been calls for restraint from around the world, including from Iran allies China and Russia. U.N. Secretary-general António Guterres said: "This is a moment in which leaders must exercise maximum restraint, adding, "The world cannot afford another war in the Gulf."

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was critical of the reaction by American allies in Europe.

"[We're] talking to our partners in other places that haven't been quite as good. Frankly, the Europeans haven't been as helpful as I wish that they could be. The Brits, the French, the Germans—all need to understand that what we did, what the Americans did, saved lives in Europe as well," he told Fox News host Sean Hannity.