More than 30 people have been killed in a stampede as Iranians flocked to the burial of a top commander killed in a US drone strike, Iranian media report.
The deaths led to the postponement of Qasem Soleimani’s interment. A new time will be announced later, officials say.
Soleimani is being laid to rest in his hometown of Kerman, with millions already estimated to have packed the streets for funeral processions.
His killing has raised fears of a conflict between the US and Iran.
Soleimani was widely considered the second most powerful man in Iran behind Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. The US saw him as a terrorist and a threat to American troops.
US President Donald Trump adopted a tough stance against Iran after his election, and Tehran responded with their own campaign. Tensions were raised further last month after the US attacked an Iranian-backed militia in Iraq it blamed for attacks on US forces.
It is unclear what caused the stampede in Kerman, south-eastern Iran, but vast numbers of people were in the streets ahead of Soleimani’s burial, first set for Tuesday morning.
The exact death toll is unconfirmed – one emergency official put it at 32 while another said it was 40. Nearly 200 people are also said to have been injured.
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In other developments:
- In an interview Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif called Soleimani’s killing an “act of war” and said Iran’s response would be against “legitimate targets”, without specifying further
- The US reportedly denied a visa for Mr Zarif to visit the UN in New York later this week, a move that appears to breach an agreement guaranteeing foreign officials access to the UN headquarters
- Germany is withdrawing a small number of soldiers stationed in Iraq as part of the coalition fighting Islamic State
- The US has denied it is pulling out of Iraq, after a letter from a US general suggested there would be a withdrawal
- Iranian parliamentarians have approved a motion designating the US Army and the Pentagon as terrorist organisations, and allocated extra funds for the force once headed by Soleimani
Top Iranian officials have renewed their threats of revenge.
“The martyr Qassem Soleimani is more powerful… now that he is dead,” the Revolutionary Guards’ top general, Major General Hossein Salami, told crowds in Kerman.
The Guards were set up to defend Iran’s Islamic system and are a major political and military force.