It is clear who killed, but who desires this death is a more important phenomenon.
First of all, it is necessary to get to know the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) which Soleimani affiliated to. Thus, it will be better understood why Soleimani was killed and who this assassination worked for.
Established as a paramilitary force, the IRGC has become a parallel state in the country over time. The IRGC, which is directly affiliated with the religious leader Khamenei, has formed its own intelligence agency, air force command, naval command, as well as everything that belongs to an army. As an example, on 11 January last year, Iran admitted it had shot down the Ukrainian passenger jet by “accident”, the result of human error. General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the head of the IRGC’s aerospace division, said his unit accepts “full responsibility” for the shootdown. The IRGC, which has immunity within the country, did not pay any price even in this incident. Let’s not forget that Iran has a national army.
The IRGC, which carries out its mission to guarantee the survival of the regime in the country, already largely in control of Iranian regional policy on Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen as well. Its control over Iranian economy estimates range from a third to nearly two-thirds. With such tremendous power, an organization can bring or overthrow any power in the country it wants. We will talk about the structure, powers and activities of the IRGC in a separate article.
Major General Qasem Soleimani was commander of the Quds Force, one of five branches of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and was considered the second most powerful person of Iran, subordinate to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. On 3 January 2020, a United States drone strike near Baghdad International Airport targeted and killed him.
To whom this assassination will come in usefull? Of course, information about the details of the assassination is kept confidential. But the first answer that comes to mind about the question points to the Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. No dictator wants such a powerful figure surrounding him. Fear is not Soleimani’s danger of overthrowing the Supreme Leader. The main drawback is the possibility of Soleimani playing a dominant role in determining the name to replace Khamenei. The supreme leader is 81 years old, all the key figures in the administration are over 80 years old, so it’s time to appoint a new supreme leader.
Everyone knows that Ali Khamenei makes all final decisions and does not want people around him to participate in this decision process or direct the decision by objecting. Besides, with this assassination, he had the opportunity to consolidate his own mass by shouting “death to America” slogans for a year. So it is possible that he had desired and/or facilitated the assassination of Qasem Soleimani.
Although the opinion that there is a power struggle in the corridors of Iranian power is true, as I said, Khamenei makes all the final decisions. Perhaps years later, when US lift Access ban to confidential information, we will learn the details of the assassination, talks and intelligence exchange while it happening.