On 7 January 1978, an article ("Iran and Red and Black Colonization") appeared in the national daily Ettela'at newspaper. Written under a pseudonym by a government agent, it denounced Khomeini as a "British agent" and a "mad Indian poet" conspiring to sell out Iran to neo-colonialists and communists. Upon the publishing of the article, religious seminary students in the city of Qom, angered over the insult to Khomeini, clashed with police. According to the government, two were killed in the clash; according to the opposition, seventy were killed and over five hundred were injured. However, the casualty figures are different in different sources.
On 6 January, the body of Soleimani and other casualties arrived at the Iranian capital Tehran. Huge crowds, reportedly hundreds of thousands or millions, packed the streets. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who had a close relationship with Soleimani, led the traditional Islamic prayer for the dead, weeping at one point in front of the flag-draped coffins.