Iran has issued an arrest warrant for President Donald Trump and has asked the international policing organization Interpol for help in apprehending him, Al Jazeera reported. There is little chance of Interpol actually acting on that warrant, however.
Ali Alqasimehr, Tehran’s prosecutor-general, announced that the country has issued arrest warrants for over 30 people in connection with a January drone strike that killed Qassem Soleimani, at the time the commander of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC). Trump is reportedly at the top of that list of people wanted for murder and terrorism charges. Alqasimehr did not identify any of the other individuals who are reportedly on the list.
On January 3, 2020, Trump authorized the drone strike that killed Soleimani and nine other people near the Baghdad International Airport. As The New York Times later reported, Trump had been briefed by military officials about Iran allegedly sponsoring anti-U.S. attacks in Iraq. One option that was put on the table was the targeted killing of Soleimani — reportedly the “most extreme” of the options.
However, Trump reportedly became angered by news reports of attacks on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad by Iran-backed protesters, and ordered the killing, which purportedly “stunned” Pentagon officials. Similarly, according to a Wall Street Journal report, Trump ordered the killing in order to garner support among his Republican base, a move that took place as the impeachment proceedings against him were going forward.
At the time, Trump tweeted that Soleimani had been responsible for thousands of American deaths.
“General Qassem Soleimani has killed or badly wounded thousands of Americans over an extended period of time, and was plotting to kill many more…but got caught! He was directly and indirectly responsible for the death of millions of people” he wrote.
Iran, however, sees the drone strike as nothing short of a political assassination.
Alqasimehr said that he will be asking Interpol to issue a so-called “red notice” for Trump’s arrest. Such a notice wouldn’t necessarily compel local authorities to arrest the wanted individual. It does, however, allow for such a thing to happen. Theoretically, such a notice could limit a suspect’s travel, particularly where local authorities are sympathetic to the country issuing the notice.
Interpol is unlikely to follow through on Iran’s request for the arrest warrant or the “red notice,” as the agency usually does not act on “any intervention or activities of a political” nature.
Iran has promised to continue to seek to arrest and prosecute Trump even after his presidency.