Iran has issued a second arrest warrant for President Donald Trump and dozens of other U.S. officials, submitted a “red notice” to Interpol requesting that the international police agency intervene and bring them to justice for the killing of a top Iranian commander last year.
On Tuesday, spokesman for the Iranian judiciary Gholamhossein Esmaili told reporters that the Islamic Republic had requested that the global police organization arrest Trump and 47 other U.S. officials identified as playing some role in the assassination of top Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Lt. Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad on Jan. 3, 2020.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran is very seriously following up on pursuing and punishing those who ordered and executed this crime,” Esmaili said in a press briefing, reports Al Jazeera.
The general was one of Iran’s top military officials and was charged with heading the foreign operations arm of the IRGC. Lieutenant General Soleimani played a crucial role in Iran’s counter-terrorism efforts against foreign-backed groups such as the Islamic State group (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria.
The top commander was assassinated in a drone strike on the Iraqi capital directly ordered by Trump.
The unprecedented killing of the Iranian military official was criticized in many western capitals, and has been deemed to be against international law by Agnes Callamard, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.
Iran has vowed to bring those responsible for the assassination to justice, with the country’s foreign ministry marking the anniversary of Soleimani’s killing by blasting the White House as having “committed a great act of folly” that would result in them being the “main losers,” reports Iranian state-owned news network PressTV.
“The United States thinks it can influence the public opinion by assassinating people, but the history has proven this policy to be futile,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said over the weekend.
This isn’t the first time that Iran has sought to request an international arrest warrant for Trump and dozens of top military officials.
In June, Iranian prosecutor Ali Alqasimehr issued a warrant for the arrest of Trump and dozens of other U.S. officials on the basis of “murder and terrorism charges.”
However, France-based Interpol largely shrugged off the request, saying its own charter forbids it from “any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character.”
Tehran has vowed to avenge the death of Soleimani, despite its own efforts to tamper down tensions and prevent hostility with Washington from escalating in the waning days of Trump’s presidency.
There have been widespread fears that Trump, acting at the behest of Israel and Gulf Arab states, could act rashly toward Iran prior to leaving office on Jan. 20.
In a ceremony marking the one year anniversary of Soleimani’s assassination, judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi underscored Tehran’s desire to bring Trump to justice, remarking that his high political stature shouldn’t grant immunity to the the outgoing U.S. head of state.
“Fortunately, Trump’s presidency has ended,” Raisi said. “But even if his term hadn’t ended, it would be unacceptable to say someone shouldn’t be accountable to law due to his administrative position.”
Other Iranian officials do believe that in spite of the remote possibilities of legally pursuing Trump, there is a basis in international law to hold him accountatble.
“Some international experts hold the view that after Trump’s presidency is over this might be possible,” said Ali Kadkhodaei, the spokesman of Iran’s powerful constitutional body, the Guardian Council.
Iran’s request comes as the U.S. has flown nuclear-capable B-52 bombers over the Persian Gulf numerous times in the past month.
On Monday, the Pentagon also reversed a decision to bring the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier home from the Persian Gulf, claiming that the move was in response to “recent threats” by Tehran.
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