The Iranian government issued an arrest warrant for President Donald Trump on Monday, leveling charges of "murder and terrorism," according to a report by CNBC. The warrant relates to a drone strike in January directed by Trump, which killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani. It is unlikely that Trump will actually be arrested, though the move caused a stir in the news on Monday.
The attorney general of Tehran, Iran — Ali Alghasi-Mehr — described the charges against Trump in a request for help from Interpol. Alghasi-Mehr told the international policing bureau that Trump faces "murder and terrorism charges" in Iran for his involvement in Soleimani's death. He named 35 other people wanted by the Iranian government as well. Alghasi-Mehr reportedly asked Interpol to issue "red notices" for Trump and the 35 alleged accomplices — the highest-level notice that Interpol can issue to pursue an individual's arrest.
Legal and military experts say that it is highly unlikely for Interpol to comply with Iran's request. Even if it did, they say that Trump faces no real threat of arrest by Iranian forces. Interpol's guidelines preclude "undertaking any intervention or activities of a political" nature.
So far, the Trump administration has not made an official response to Iran's arrest warrant. Trump has often referenced giving the order that killed Soleimani since January, however, suggesting that he was a serious threat to the United States. Soleimani led Iran's Quds Force, a foreign operations wing of the country's elite paramilitary Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The Trump administration labeled him a terrorist, while intelligence agencies deemed him responsible for hundreds of American deaths in Iraq.
Trump ordered the drone strike that killed Soleimani while he was in Baghdad, the capital of Iraq. The attack was widely criticized both within the U.S. and internationally, with many analysts saying it did more harm than good by raising the tensions in the Middle East. It also sent oil prices skyrocketing, and triggered a retaliatory attack by Iran on an Iraqi military base housing U.S. troops. The attack came less than a week after Soleimani's death, with over a dozen ballistic missiles from Iran hitting Ain al-Asad airbase. There were no deaths, yet at the time Trump threatened further retaliation.
Experts have reportedly speculated that confrontations between the U.S. and Iran, as well as conflicts in the Middle East in general, have been slowed by the coronavirus pandemic in recent months. Iran is the epicenter of the outbreak in the Middle East, while the U.S. accounts for about a quarter of the world's total cases.