Iran issued an arrest warrant on Monday against President Donald Trump and 35 other officials who he alleges were involved in the U.S. drone attack that killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani earlier this year and nearly threw the region to a total war.
Iran asked Interpol to issue a “red warning” for the immediate arrest of the president, who reportedly told associates that he ordered the attack in part to distract himself from impeachment proceedings.
Interpol said in a press release that it could not do so, citing constitutional restrictions on “any intervention or activity of a political, military, religious or racial nature.” The cross-border law enforcement agency said it would not consider such requests, although it did not say whether Iran had submitted an official notice.
Iranian prosecutor Ali al-Qasimehr said at a government meeting on Monday that the order, which the international community considers largely symbolic, alleges “charges of murder and terrorism.”
“The 36 people who participated in the assassination of Qasem Soleimani have been identified and include political and military officials from the US and other governments,” al-Qasimehr said, without naming any aides or defense officials.
“At the top of the list is the President of the United States, Donald Trump, and his prosecution will be prosecuted even after the end of his term,” he added.
The United States Special Representative in Iran, Brian Hook, called the measure a “propaganda stunt” during a joint press conference with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir.
“It is propaganda that we are used to,” Hook said. “This has nothing to do with national security, international peace or the promotion of stability. So we see it for what it is: it is a propaganda trick that nobody takes seriously and makes the Iranians look silly.”
The murder of Suleimani and several of his aides on January 3 near the Baghdad airport threatened to destabilize the uncomfortable peace between the two geopolitical rivals, who have been periodically involved in the military war since Trump withdrew from the historic multilateral nuclear deal. the Obama era. and intensified a “maximum pressure” sanctions campaign.
Iran called the murder an extrajudicial murder, and the UN requested an investigation into whether the attack met the criteria.
The United States justified the attack under expansive readings of the military authorization statutes, claiming at first that Soleimani was planning an “imminent attack” against the Americans. However, the administration never offered evidence of such an attack. He later changed his story, saying that the strike was a deterrent.
“If there is evidence there, we have not seen it,” said representative Pramila Jayapal, president of the Progressive Chamber of the House. “[President Trump] he had no evidence of an imminent attack, and we say that coming from a classified briefing, where again, there was no raw evidence presented that there was an imminent threat. “
Senator Mike Lee, Republican of Utah, said the information he received “was probably the worst information I have ever seen on at least one military issue in the nine years I have served in the United States Senate.”
Iran retaliated with attacks on two Iraqi military bases that house US troops and contractors. The bases received a notice and nobody died. More than 100 soldiers wounded in the attack were later diagnosed with serious brain injuries, which Trump called “headaches.”
The Iraqi parliament voted to expel all American troops, but the United States refused. However, the strike has had a negative effect on relationships. Two months later, the Pentagon announced a partial withdrawal from the country.
Since then, Iran and the United States have refrained from further escalation, but Tehran said earlier this month that it had sentenced an Iranian citizen to death for allegedly informing US intelligence about Soleimani’s movements.
At the joint Saudi-American press conference on Monday, drones and missiles were displayed, which the Saudis allege Iran has supplied to the Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Envoys from both countries called on the UN to extend its arms ban to Iran, warning that if the embargo expires, Tehran will seize the opportunity to flood Yemen with weapons and further destabilize the region.