Iran is seeking to arrest President Donald Trump for his role in ordering drone strikes that killed an Iranian general as he was visiting Baghdad in neighboring Iraq earlier this year. Ali Alqasimehr, a prosecutor in the Iranian capital of Tehran, alleged that Trump and 35 others were involved in initiating the Jan. 3 drone strikes that resulted in the death of Gen. Qassem Soleimani and several officials of Iranian-backed Iraqi militias. Iran says the individuals responsible face “murder and terrorism charges,” according to local news agency reports.
The names of the others deemed responsible for Soleimani’s death have not been released. However, Alqasimehr told the state-run Iranian news agency IRNA that prosecuting Trump in particular is the highest priority, and that officials will continue to seek his prosecution even after his presidential term ends.
Iran has also requested the help of Interpol in arresting the individuals. Specifically, Iran requested that a “red notice” — the highest-level notice issued by Interpol — be issued for Trump and the others involved. Such a notice would enable local officials to arrest the suspect on behalf of the country seeking that requested it. However, the international intergovernmental crime-fighting organization said in a statement that it “would not consider requests of this nature.” It explained that it was not in accordance with its rules and constitution, which states “it is strictly forbidden for the organization to undertake any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character.”
U.S. officials brushed off the gesture by Iran. Brian Hook, a U.S. special representative for Iran, said the move was nothing more than a “political stunt,” at a Monday morning news conference. He also called the move, “propaganda.”
Trump ordered a drone strike to target Soleimani, who commanded Iran’s Revolutionary Guard’s expeditionary Quds force, as he left Baghdad International Airport on Jan. 3. He then justified the strike, which killed five others, by asserting he did so to prevent an imminent attack. However, administration officials later back-pedaled on this claim and instead highlighted Soleimani’s track record of dangerous behavior to justify the assassination. Tensions between Iran and the United States grew, and the Middle Eastern nation responded by ordering rocket strikes against two U.S. military bases in Iraq on Jan. 7. Those strikes resulted in no deaths.
Soleimani had what’s been described as a cult following among many Iranian citizens. His death sparked widespread outrage in the Persian, and Iran launched an intense propaganda campaign following his death but did little to escalate the tense situation after the Jan. 7 rocket strikes in the U.S. bases in Iraq.