Protesters burn UK and US flags in massive Tehran protest over killing of Iranian military commander

James MorrisSenior news reporter, Yahoo News UK

Protesters today burned UK and US flags after Iran’s top military commander was killed in an airstrike.

Thousands of people took to the streets of Tehran on Friday after the killing of Qassem Soleimani, who led Iran’s military operations in the Middle East, in the US strike at Baghdad International Airport.

The US carried out the attack independently of the UK, with Boris Johnson said to have had no prior warning of the strike. However, the UK is seen as a key ally of the US at a time when tensions - and talk of war - have skyrocketed.

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Israeli flags were also burned in the protests.

Demonstrators burn US and UK flags in Tehran on Friday (West Asia News Agency/Nazanin Tabatabaee via REUTERS)
Demonstrators burn US and UK flags in Tehran on Friday (West Asia News Agency/Nazanin Tabatabaee via REUTERS)
Protesters in Tehran on Friday (AP/Vahid Salemi)
Protesters in Tehran on Friday (AP/Vahid Salemi)

The protests came as Iran announced three days of mourning for General Soleimani.

Tensions are so serious that the UK government has warned Brits in Iran that they could be in danger if they are seen at any of the protests.

Protesters burn a US in Tehran (AP/Vahid Salemi)
Protesters burn a US in Tehran (AP/Vahid Salemi)
Demonstrators in Tehran on Friday (West Asia News Agency/Nazanin Tabatabaee via REUTERS)
Demonstrators in Tehran on Friday (West Asia News Agency/Nazanin Tabatabaee via REUTERS)

Foreign Office advice issued on Friday read: “Iran has declared three days of national mourning (January 3 to 6), following the death of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in a US strike in Baghdad on January 3. Rallies and marches are likely in cities across Iran, and could become angry.

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“You should avoid any rallies, marches, or processions, and follow the instructions of the local authorities."

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned “harsh retaliation is waiting” for the US as he hailed General Soleimani the “international face of resistance”.

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