World

Iran issues arrest warrant for Trump over Soleimani killing

Iran has issued an arrest warrant and asked Interpol for help in detaining U.S. President Donald Trump and dozens of others it believes carried out the drone strike that killed a top Iranian general in Baghdad, a local prosecutor reportedly said Monday.

U.S. official calls the move a 'propaganda stunt that no one takes seriously'

The commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard's Quds Force, Gen. Qassem Soleimani, was killed by a U.S. drone strike in January. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Iran has issued an arrest warrant and asked Interpol for help in detaining U.S. President Donald Trump and dozens of others it believes carried out the 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 U.S. since Trump unilaterally withdrew the United States 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.

Iran has issued an arrest warrant and asked Interpol for help in detaining U.S. President Donald Trump over the killing of Soleimani. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

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 U.S. special representative for Iran, who dismissed the announcement during a news conference in Saudi Arabia on Monday.

Mourners carry the coffin of Soleimani during a funeral procession on Jan. 4. Thousands of Iraqis chanted 'Death to America' as they mourned those killed in a U.S. drone attack that sparked fears of a regional proxy war between Washington and Tehran. (Mohammed Sawaf/AFP/Getty Images)

"It's a propaganda stunt that no one takes seriously and makes the Iranians look foolish," Hook said.

The U.S. 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.

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