A stampede erupted on Tuesday at a funeral procession for a top Iranian general killed in a US airstrike last week, killing 35 people and injuring 48 others, state television reported.
According to the report, the stampede took place in Kerman, the hometown of Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, as the procession got underway.
Initial videos posted online showed people lying lifeless on a road, others shouting and trying to give help them.
Iranian state TV gave the casualty toll in its online report, without saying where it obtained the information. Pirhossein Koulivand, the head of Iran’s emergency medical services, earlier spoke by telephone to state TV and confirmed the stampede took place.
“Unfortunately as a result of the stampede, some of our compatriots have been injured and some have been killed during the funeral processions,” he said.
Soleimani’s death has sparked calls across Iran for revenge against America for a slaying that’s drastically raised tensions across the Middle East.
Early Tuesday, the leader of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard threatened to “set ablaze” places supported by the United States over the killing of a top Iranian general in a US airstrike last week, sparking cries from the crowd of supporters of “Death to Israel!”
Hossein Salami made the pledge before a crowd of thousands gathered in a central square in Kerman before a casket carrying Soleimani’s remains.
The US blames Soleimani for the killing of American troops in Iraq and accused him of plotting new attacks just before his death Friday in a drone strike near Baghdad’s airport.
Soleimani also led forces in Syria backing regime leader Bashar Assad in a long war, and he also served as the point man for Iranian proxies in countries like Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen.
His slaying already has pushed Tehran to abandon the remaining limits of its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers as his successor and others vow to take revenge. In Baghdad, the parliament has called for the expulsion of all American troops from Iraqi soil, something analysts fear could allow ISIS militants to mount a comeback.
According to a report on Tuesday by the semi-official Tasnim news agency, Iran has worked up 13 sets of plans for revenge for Soleimani’s killing. The report quoted Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, as saying that even the weakest among them would be a “historic nightmare” for the US. He declined to give any details.
Iran’s parliament, meanwhile, passed an urgent bill declaring the US military’s command at the Pentagon and those acting on its behalf in Soleimani’s killing as “terrorists,” subject to Iranian sanctions.
The measure appears to be an attempt to mirror a decision by President Donald Trump in April to declare the Revolutionary Guard a “terrorist organization.”
The US Defense Department used the Guard’s designation as a terror organization in the US to support the strike that killed Soleimani.