Iran and Trump
Iran has issued an arrest warrant for US President Donald Trump over the drone strike that killed a top Iranian general in January, the semi-official Fars news agency reported Monday.
Trump is one of 36 people Iran has issued arrest warrants for in relation to the death of Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC), according to Fars, but the Tehran attorney general Ali Alqasi Mehr said Trump was at the top of the list.
Tehran prosecutor Ali Alqasimehr said on Monday that Trump, along with more than 30 others Iran accuses of involvement in the January 3 attack that killed General Qassem Soleimani, face “murder and terrorism charges”, the semi-official ISNA news agency reported. Alqasimehr did not identify anyone else sought other than Trump, but stressed Iran would continue to pursue his prosecution even after his presidency ends. Also, Mehr claimed Trump would be prosecuted as soon as he stands down presidency after his term ends, Fars reported.
Iran also said it had asked Interpol to issue a Red Notice for these 36 individuals, semi-official state news agency ISNA reported, though it was unlikely that Interpol would grant the request.
Interpol, based in Lyon, France, said in a statement its constitution forbade it to undertake “any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character. Therefore, if or when any such requests were to be sent to the General Secretariat, Interpol would not consider requests of this nature.”
The US’s Iran envoy Brian Hook described the move as a “propaganda stunt”.
“Our assessment is that Interpol does not intervene and issue Red Notices that are based on a political nature,” Hook said at a news conference in Saudi Arabia. “This is a political nature. This has nothing to do with national security, international peace or promoting stability… It is propaganda stunt that no one takes seriously,” he said.
Red notice request
Alqasimehr was also quoted as saying Iran had requested a “red notice” be put out for Trump and the others, the highest-level notice issued by Interpol, requesting that seeks the location and arrest of the individual named.
Under a red notice, local authorities make the arrests on behalf of the country that requested it. The notices cannot force countries to arrest or extradite suspects, but can put government leaders on the spot and limit suspects’ travel.
After receiving a request, Interpol meets by committee and discusses whether or not to share the information with its member states. Interpol has no requirement for making any of the notices public, though some do get published on its website.
The US killed General Soleimani, who oversaw the Revolutionary Guard Corps’s expeditionary Quds Force and others in the January attack near Baghdad International Airport.
The assassination came after months of incidents raising tensions between the two countries and ultimately saw Iran retaliate with a ballistic missile strike targeting American troops in Iraq.
US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook called the move a “political stunt” during a joint press conference with the Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir on Monday.
“It’s propaganda that we’re used to,” Hook said. “This has nothing to do with national security, international peace or promoting stability, so we see it for what it is – it’s a propaganda stunt that no one takes seriously and makes the Iranians look foolish,” he added.
Soleimani was killed in a US drone strike at Baghdad International Airport in January along with five others, including Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy head of the Iran-backed Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF).
The strike, condemned by Iran and its allies as an “assassination,” raised the specter of further regional destabilization.
A spokesman for Iran’s judiciary, Gholam-Hossein Esmaili, announced in early June that an Iranian citizen had been sentenced to death for allegedly working for foreign intelligence agencies. Esmaili claimed that Seyed Mahmoud Mousavi Majd disclosed the whereabouts of Soleimani to US intelligence officials.
The Trump administration viewed Soleimani as a ruthless killer, and the President told reporters in January that the general should have been taken out by previous presidents. The Pentagon blamed Soleimani for the deaths of hundreds of Americans and US allies in the months leading up to his killing.
“General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region,” the Pentagon said at the time, calling the strike “decisive defensive” action aimed at deterring future Iranian attacks.