Iran has issued an arrest warrant and asked Interpol for help in detaining President Donald Trump and dozens of others it believes carried out the US drone strike that killed a top Iranian general in Baghdad, a local prosecutor reportedly said Monday.
Interpol later said it wouldn’t consider Iran’s request, meaning Trump faces no danger of arrest. However, the charges underscore the heightened tensions between Iran and the United States since Trump unilaterally withdrew America from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers.
Tehran prosecutor Ali Alqasimehr said Trump and 35 others whom Iran accuses of involvement in the Jan. 3 strike that killed Gen Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad face “murder and terrorism charges,” the state-run IRNA news agency reported.
Alqasimehr did not identify anyone else sought other than Trump, but stressed that Iran would continue to pursue his prosecution even after his presidency ends. Alqasimehr also was quoted as saying that Iran requested a “red notice” be put out for Trump and the others, which represents the highest-level arrest request issued by Interpol.
Local authorities generally make the arrests on behalf of the country that requests it. The notices cannot force countries to arrest or extradite suspects, but can put government leaders on the spot and limit suspects’ travel.
After receiving a request, Interpol meets by committee and discusses whether or not to share the information with its member states. Interpol has no requirement for making any of the notices public, though some do get published on its website.
Interpol later issued a statement saying its guidelines for notices forbids it from “any intervention or activities of a political” nature. Interpol would not consider requests of this nature,” it said.
Brian Hook, the US special representative for Iran, dismissed the arrest warrant announcement during a news conference in Saudi Arabia on Monday. “It’s a propaganda stunt that no one takes seriously and makes the Iranians look foolish,” Hook said.
The US killed Soleimani, who oversaw the Revolutionary Guard’s expeditionary Quds Force, and others in the January strike near Baghdad International Airport. It came after months of rising tensions between the two countries. Iran retaliated with a ballistic missile strike targeting American troops in Iraq.