Soleimani was revered by many Shiite Muslims around the world for his military successes in helping Shiite Hezbollah protect and defeat an Israeli invasion of Lebanon (part of Israel's "grand" strategy of building a mythic "Greater Israel"), but more importantly, for his work in both Iraq and Syria coordinating the largely successful battle against al Qaeda in Syria (or HTS) and ISIS (otherwise known as Daesh).
As Iran has consistently and publicly stated, and the evidence confirms, both al Qaeda and ISIS were not only funded and supported by the lunatic Wahhabist Saudis, but also by the United States and other Western countries, particularly the U.K. (long a mercenary supporter of the Wahhabist Saudi tribe since Lawrence of Arabia in the First World War). The Wahhabist Muslim sect believes that all non-Sunni Muslims are "heretics" and should either be forcibly converted or killed. General Soleimani was therefore following the lineage of the great Shiite Imams of medieval times, in protecting all Shiites -this time from the scourge of Wahhabism.
In collaboration with the Russians, a revitalized Syrian Arab Army (Assad's forces), a re-armed Iraqi Army, and Shi-ite militias under his command, Soleimani had at the time of his death largely succeeded in defeating ISIS in Syria and Iraq. The jaws are rapidly closing in on the remnants of al Qaeda, HTS, ISIS and other Saudi- and Western-backed jihadists in Idlib in Northern Syria and Iraq. There is real fear in Washington "intelligence" circles that mainstream media will finally be forced to expose the direct linkage between Washington and the head-chopping jihadists.
The recent death in Ankara of James Le Mesurier, leader of the White Helmets, supposedly humanitarian aid workers in Syria, but in reality well-funded propaganda units for the jihadist groups and their backers, is likely to be directly linked to imminent exposure of the White Helmets as fakes, and the revelation of Western governments' manipulation and likely bribery of senior staff at the OPCW to create a "scientific finding" that the Assad government had gassed civilians. Western governments will consequently be finally forced to acknowledge their appalling collaboration and support of psychopathic jihadist killers in the Middle East--all in the name of oil and support for the Israeli entity.
American intelligence agencies consequently panicked and reasoned that a decisive provocation against Iran would ensure that Iran would "over-react", and could thus be seen by the world as the crazed religious pariah state that the United States has always tried to portray Iran as being since the Islamic revolution.
It might be useful at this point to list just some of the legitimate grievances Iran has against the United States.
- The deposing of Iran's democratic government under Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh in 1953 by the United States' Central Intelligence Agency and the United Kingdom's MI6, and the installation of the brutal Shah.
- The arming and support for Saddam Hussein's attempted invasion of Iran, which cost millions of Iranian lives (and in which ferocious war Soleimani learnt his battle skills).
- The provision of poison gas and equipment to Iraq, which resulted in further Iranian deaths in that war.
- The shooting down of a civilian Iranian Airbus A300 by a US warship in the Persian Gulf, with 290 resultant deaths. No official apology or compensation from the United States.
- Ongoing promotion of Iran as a pariah state at the UN and with other Western governments, which resulted in severe sanctions and the deaths of many innocent Iranians because of Iran's nonexistent nuclear-weapons programme.
- Unconditional support by the United States of the Wahhabist Saudi clan who have funded and managed Sunni jihadist groups, killing many Shi-ite across the world, but particularly in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.
- United States' unconditional support for the Israeli entity, in their desire to create a "Greater Israel" by the theft and extremely brutal occupation of land from (largely Sunni) Palestinians, Shi-ite Lebanese and Syrians.
Perhaps it might therefore be understandable why Iran's leadership calls the United States the "Great Satan".
Iran is, unlike many of the United States' allies in the Middle East, a democracy of sorts. However the rules for democracy are managed and controlled at a central level by its Shi-ite Islamist leaders, and democratic choice is very limited (not too dissimilar in fact to the U.S. presidential election process).
While there are undoubtedly many in Iran who long for what Western democracy appears to promise, most are also fiercely patriotic; proud of their many thousands of year's history as Persians. Faced with "existential" external threats, as Iranians have been since the Islamist revolution in 1979, few Iranians would support an overthrow of their current government.
Soleimani's death was mourned by hundreds of thousands of Shiites in Iraq and Iran. Memorials in Tehran had to be postponed because of the size of the crowds mourning in him in other cities in Iran but the most crucial memorial was held for him in the Iranian city of Qom. "Qom is considered holy by Shiʿa Islam, as it is the site of the shrine of Fatimah bint Musa, sister of Imam Ali ibn Musa Rida (Persian Imam Reza, 789816 CE). The city is the largest center for Shiʿa scholarship in the world, and is a significant destination of pilgrimage, with around twenty million pilgrims visiting the city every year.." --Wikipedia.
The red Shi-ite flag of the blood of the martyrs and revenge was raised in Qom at his funeral procession. According to local reports it is the first time in the Qom mosque's history - a holy site since the Middle Ages - that the red flag has been raised over the building.
It should be noted that the raising of the red flag over Qom is not simply an Iranian government contrivance, but a religious appeal to all Shi-ite believers around the world to avenge Soleimani's death--one who battled with the forces of evil to save Shi-ites.
Albawaba.com notes that "Last night Khamanei and Rouhani consoled Soleimani's family.
"'Who is going to avenge my father's blood?' One of the commander's daughters asked.
"In response, Rouhani promised her that 'everyone will take revenge' and assured her as she wept, 'we will, we will avenge his blood, you don't worry.'
"'The Americans did not realize what a grave mistake they have made. They will suffer the consequences of such criminal measure not only today, but also throughout the years to come,' Rouhani said.