Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei gestures as he delivers Friday prayers sermon, in Tehran, Iran January 17, 2020. (Official Khamenei website/Handout via REUTERS)

DUBAI (Reuters) - The Revolutionary Guards can take their fight beyond Iran's borders, the supreme leader said on Friday, responding to the U.S. killing of his country's most prominent commander and to anti-government unrest at home over the downing of an airliner.

In his first Friday prayers sermon in eight years, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also told thousands of Iranians who chanted "Death to America!" that European powers could not be trusted in Iran's nuclear standoff with Washington.

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Iranians attend a funeral procession and burial for Major-General Qassem Soleimani, head of the elite Quds Force, at his hometown in Kerman, Iran January 7, 2020. (Mehdi Bolourian/Fars News Agency/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS)

DUBAI/BAGHDAD (Reuters) - At least 50 people were killed in a stampede as mourners packed streets for the funeral of a slain Iranian military commander in his hometown on Tuesday, forcing his burial to be postponed, state media reported.

Tens of thousands of people had gathered in the southeastern city of Kerman to pay tribute to General Qasem Soleimani, whose killing in a U.S. drone strike in Iraq on Friday plunged the region into a new crisis and raised fears of a broader conflict.

A senior Iranian official said Tehran was considering several scenarios to avenge his killing. Other senior figures have said Iran will match the scale of Soleimani's killing when it responds but that it will choose the time and place.

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A U.S. service member is seen at a watchtower of the U.S. Embassy during a protest to condemn air strikes on bases belonging to Hashd al-Shaabi (paramilitary forces), in Baghdad, Iraq January 1, 2020. (REUTERS/Khalid al-Mousily)

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Supporters of Iranian-backed Iraqi paramilitary groups who stormed the U.S. Embassy's perimeter and hurled rocks in two days of protests withdrew on Wednesday after Washington dispatched extra troops and threatened reprisals against Tehran.

The demonstrators, angry at U.S. air strikes against the Tehran-backed Kataib Hezbollah group in which at least 25 people were killed, threw stones at the building while U.S. forces stationed on the rooftops fired tear gas to disperse them.

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Paul Lewis arrived at the U.S. embassy in Tehran as Marine security guard about 14 hours before it was taken over by a mob of people who claimed to be student protesters. In fact, it was the first Iranian terrorist attack on the United States in a conflict that turned 40 years old on Monday.

"This isn't a day I usually celebrate," said Lewis, who was a sergeant at the time.

The Iranian hostage takers initially thought Lewis was a spy so they kept him separate from the other Americans and interrogated him intensely for the first month of his 444-day captivity, he told Task & Purpose on Monday.

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Video footage aired on Iranian state television on Saturday shows masked commandos rappelling from a helicopter onto a British tanker in the Strait of Hormuz.

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FILE PHOTO: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a news conference with Iraqi President Barham Salih (not pictured) in Baghdad, Iraq, March 11, 2019. REUTERS/Thaier al-Sudani/File Photo

DUBAI/PARIS (Reuters) - Iran is ready to hold talks with the United States if Washington lifts sanctions and returns to the 2015 nuclear deal it quit last year, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a televised speech on Sunday.

U.S. President Donald Trump's administration says it is open to negotiations with Iran on a more far-reaching agreement on nuclear and security issues.

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