National Security

NYT Podcast Host: In Iran, Soleimani’s Death Is Like MLK’s Death in America

New York Times podcast host Michael Barbaro compared the mourning in Iran over the death of Qassem Soleimani to America's reaction to the death of Martin Luther King Jr. during Tuesday's episode of the podcast "The Daily."

"What you are describing feels like the kind of unified national outpouring that is reserved for a small handful of figures in any country," host Barbaro told Times reporter Farnaz Fassihi during the episode, titled "Why Iran Is in Mourning." "A beloved president, a civil rights leader like Martin Luther King in the United States. Not for what our colleagues have described as a general who specializes in covert operations in Iran."

Fassihi, who covers Iran for the Times, told Barbaro that it is difficult for people outside Iran to understand the role Soleimani played in the country. "He was singlehandedly the most revered and influential character in Iran, she said.

Last week, a U.S. airstrike killed Soleimani, who led the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps's elite Quds Force. The United States government holds the terrorist leader responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans in Iraq.

A stampede at Soleimani's funeral procession resulted in dozens of deaths and the delaying of his burial.

CORRECTION 1/9/2020 5:42 p.m.: An initial version of this article incorrectly attributed Barbaro's comparison to Fassihi. We regret the error.