Soon after taking office, US President Donald Trump adopted policies that led to the strengthening of Iranian hard-liners. With the Jan. 3 assassination of Gen. Qasem Soleimani, he laid the ground for the near-total marginalization of the Reform movement and President Hassan Rouhani.
In domestic politics, Soleimani, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' (IRGC) Quds Force, actually held moderate positions. Now, to take advantage of his killing, Iranian hard-liners are painting him as an ultraconservative aligned with their own interests. Their strategy could end up tarnishing the image of Soleimani, who was regarded as a national hero among diverse segments of Iranian society.