WINNIPEG -- Iranian and Kurdish Winnipeggers are watching closely as tensions rise following a drone strike at the Baghdad airport Jan.2 that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force.

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has vowed to avenge Soleimani’s death while the U.S. braces for a response.

Winnipeg resident Shahriar Bagheri, 29, lived in Iran until he was 22. He’s concerned about what will happen next.

“I am very concerned about my family and friends back home. I’m also concerned about Iranians living abroad,” said Bagheri, who has family living in Iran. “I don’t think anybody in Iran or outside Iran wants to see another war in that region.”

Bagheri said he’s not saddened by Soleimani’s death because he sees him as someone who represented “part of the Iranian government that is extremely hawkish towards its own citizens and I take issue with that.”

He said he hopes the situation can be handled reasonably and diplomatically.

“I think what’s really important at this stage is that everybody would think twice before actually doing anything so that we don’t end up in another devastating war in that region,” said Bagheri.

A member of Winnipeg’s Kurdish community who’s lived in the city 18 years echoed those sentiments, saying he’s happy Soleimani’s gone but doesn’t agree with how the attack was carried out.

The man, who CTV agreed not to name, spoke on camera about the situation. 

“I was not happy with the way that he was killed – by an American drone,” the man said. “I would’ve loved if Soleimani would’ve been brought to the court.”

He said he’s now worried about Soleimani’s death leading to escalating tensions in the region.

“The Middle East once again is going to be the site of threats and counter-threats,” he said. “It is going to create so much more suffering for the people of the Middle East who are longing for freedom and peace and multicultural coexistence.”