Iran has issued an arrest warrant for President Trump, and 35 other US officials believed to be responsible for carrying out the January 3rd drone strike that killed top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani. Announcing the warrant on Monday, Iranian prosecutor Ali Qasi Mehir said the individuals have been charged with “murder and terrorist acts.” President Trump is the only official mentioned by name so far.
Iran is seeking the help of Interpol and called for the France-based organization to put out a “red notice” on Trump and the other officials. A red notice is a request for law enforcement officials worldwide to locate and arrest an individual.
In a statement to CNN, Interpol said it “would not consider requests of this nature.” The organization explained the request violates its rules that say Interpol cannot “undertake any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character.”
US envoy for Iran Brian Hook responded to the arrest warrants and called the move a “propaganda stunt” at a press conference in Saudi Arabia on Monday. “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,” Hook said.
While Hook denounces Iran’s move as a “stunt” that makes the country look “foolish,” it is less extreme than something the US did to another world leader earlier this year. In March, the Trump administration unsealed an indictment on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and other Venezuelan officials, accusing them of “narco-terrorism.” Along with the indictment, the US placed a $15 million bounty on Maduro’s head. The US took unilateral action against Maduro, as opposed to Iran requesting Trump’s arrest through Interpol, an action taken within the framework of international law.
Besides killing Soleimani, who was the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps at the time of his assassination, the January 3rd drone strike also killed Abu Mahdi Al-Mohandes, commander of the Popular Mobilization Units and eight other military officials.
The US initially justified the assassination by saying it was carried out to prevent an “imminent attack” on US personnel in Iraq. That justification quickly shifted. The Trump administration later claimed the strike was a response to an “escalating series of attacks” on US forces by Iran and Iran-backed militias in Iraq. The administration never offered evidence to link any attacks to Iran. Iraqi intelligence said the rocket attack that killed a US contractor in December 2019 that set off the series of events leading to the assassination of Soleimani could have been done by ISIS.