Iran has issued an arrest warrant for President Donald Trump over the killing of top general Qasem Soleimani earlier this year. News of the warrant was confirmed Monday by the Fars news agency, which reported that arrest warrants have also been issued for 35 others, including U.S. military and civilian officials. They are facing "murder and terrorism charges."
According to Reuters, Tehran prosecutor Ali Alqasimehr said that the country has asked Interpol to issue a "red notice," which is the highest level notice Interpol can issue on an individual, for all 36 individuals. He added that Iran would continue to pursue the matter after Trump's time in office ends. CNBC reports, however, that Trump is likely under little threat of actually being arrested and it is unlikely that Interpol would honor Iran’s request for a red notice, as the agency's guidelines forbid it from "undertaking any intervention or activities of a political" nature.
Trump has yet to comment on the Monday news. The White House has also not yet issued a statement on the warrant, which came just an hour after Brian Hook, the top US envoy to Iran, called for the expiring UN arms embargo against the Islamic Republic to be renewed. Interpol has also not yet responded to Iran’s request.
The warrants come in response to the Jan. 3 airstrike that killed Soleimani, the head of Iran's elite Quds military force and one of the most powerful figures in the Islamic Republic. Defending the strike, Trump and his administration claimed that it was a defensive measure in response to "imminent and sinister attacks" on United States forces, allies, or interests in the area. However, it was condemned by other political leaders, with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi stating that the airstrike might lead to "further dangerous escalation of violence."
In response to the airstrike, Iran warned of "crushing revenge." In an act of retaliation just days later, Iran fired "more than a dozen" missiles at two U.S. military bases in Iraq. Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that strikes were a "slap in the face" to the U.S. and not sufficient retaliation for the killing of Solemani. No lives were lost in the attack, and while the president had initially claimed that no one had been injured, it was later reported that dozens of U.S. service members had been diagnosed with "mild traumatic brain injury," NBC News reported in February.