Kerman and the General
Kerman (pop 850,000)
Islamic Republic of Iran
May 25, 2022
During his lifetime, General Qasem Soleimani was a controversial military and political figure in Iran. I learned that some families were supportive of him. Others not.
But in response to his untimely death of “unnatural causes” in 2020 at the airport in Baghdad, Commander Soleimani was elevated to the status of a revered national hero. Hundreds of thousands attended his many funeral processions around Iran.
Qasem Soleimani is buried here in the Kerman Martyrs Cemetery. Each day a government official arrives to lay a wreath at his grave. He is joined by dozens of other mourners from Kerman and from Qanat-e Malek, Soleimani’s home village. Black clad women prostrate themselves on the black granite marker.
Who am I to avoid history? I am here. Attentive. Respectful.
Surrounded by mountains, the city of Kerman boasts at least six universities, beautiful mosques and gardens, and an array of fascinating architectural structures. And replicating a ubiquitous municipal feature of Iran, boulevards and streets are spotlessly clean and lined with closely spaced trees.
Like everywhere else in Iran, I am greeted by folks old and young who are keen to meet a friendly American.
Even the government delegate insists on posing with me and the General.