TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — 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.
While Trump faces no danger of arrest, 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 more than 30 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.
Interpol, based in Lyon, France, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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.
It is unlikely Interpol would grant Iran’s request as its guideline for notices forbids it from “undertaking any intervention or activities of a political” nature. That was something noted by Brian Hook, the US special representative for Iran, who dismissed the 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.
Associated Press writers Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Angela Charlton in Paris contributed to this report.
Image: In this Thursday, June 25, 2020 file photo, President Donald Trump waves as he arrives on Air Force One at Austin Straubel International Airport in Green Bay, Wis. 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 drone strike that killed a top Iranian general in Baghdad early this year. That’s according to a prosecutor in Tehran who was quoted by to state-run IRNA news agency on Monday, June 29, 2020. The prosecutor said Iran had asked Interpol to issue a “red notice” for Trump and over 30 others. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)