Iran issues arrest warrant for Trump over top commander's killing
Iran has issued an arrest warrant against United States President Donald Trump and dozens of others for the killing of its top commander Qassem Soleimani. Reportedly, Iran has also sought help from Interpol, asking the international criminal police organization to issue a "red notice" for Trump and the others. The US had killed Soleimani in an airstrike in January this year.
According to the semiofficial Fars news agency, Iran issued arrest warrants against Trump and 35 others, identified only as "political and military officials of the US and other governments" involved in Soleimani's killing. Prosecutor-General of Tehran Ali Alqasi Mehr said those involved in Soleimani's killing face murder and terrorism charges. Iran will continue to pursue the matter even after Trump's presidency ends.
Mehr also said Iran has requested Interpol to put out a "red notice" against the 36 accused. A red notice notably represents the highest level arrest request issued by Interpol. When approached by the Associated Press for comment, Interpol—based in Lyon, France—did not immediately respond.
Notices cannot force countries to arrest and extradite suspects. However, it can put pressure on government leaders and limit the suspects' travel. According to AP, the US President is in no danger of an arrest as Interpol is unlikely to grant Iran's request. Interpol guidelines forbid the international agency from "undertaking any intervention or activities of a political" nature.
Speaking at a news conference in Saudi Arabia on Monday, US Iran envoy Brian Hook said, "Our assessment is that Interpol does not intervene and issue red notices that are based on a political nature." Hook added, "This is a political nature. This has nothing to do with national security, international peace, or promoting stability...It is a propaganda stunt that no one takes seriously."
Soleimani was the top commander of Iran's elite Quds Force for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). He was killed in an airstrike in early-January near Baghdad International Airport along with Deputy Commander of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. The Trump administration had labeled Soleimani a terrorist and held him responsible for the deaths of hundreds of US troops in Iraq.
Soleimani's killing had come at a time of heightened tensions between the US and Iran. In a retaliatory attack, Iran fired ballistic missiles targeting US troops in Iraq and designated all US forces as "terrorists." Trump also unilaterally withdrew the US from Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers. Meanwhile, the conflict between the two nations had sent regional tensions and oil prices soaring.