United States Envoy to Iran Brian Hook called Iran’s issuance of an arrest warrant for Donald Trump and 35 other U.S. officials nothing but a “propaganda stunt.” Hook made the comments during a Monday press conference in Saudi Arabia, according to Reuters. Hook also said administration officials do not believe that Interpol is going to assist Iran in arresting the president. Hook was speaking alongside Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir, whom the envoy said agreed with the administration’s assessment.
“This is a political nature. This has nothing to do with national security, international peace or promoting stability… It is a propaganda stunt that no-one takes seriously,” Hook said.
Earlier on Monday, Iran issued arrest warrants for the American officials and Trump for the killing of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani. The killing was carried out in January via a drone strike at an airport in Iraq. It was reported the strike was ordered after Trump was briefed on Soleimani training and leading terrorist factions inside Iraq who were allegedly carrying out attacks on American soldiers.
The Trump administration cheered the general’s death as a strike against terror in the region. Iran did respond by launching a missile attack against U.S. forces in the region, but tensions reportedly cooled in the following days. The issuance of arrest warrants is the first high-level action Iran has taken in months.
While Hook said the U.S. believes Interpol will not issue the red notices it was asked for, the international law enforcement agency has not officially confirmed it would not issue what is essentially a global arrest warrant. A red notice is a request to law enforcement worldwide to locate and possibly arrest someone pending extradition, surrender, or similar legal action. It’s important to note that red notices are not an order to arrest and it’s up to local authorities whether to carry it out.
NBC News reported it reached out to Interpol for an official statement. The agency responded its regulations likely forbid it from issuing the notices, but did not provide a concrete answer specifically regarding the issue with Trump and Iran. The law enforcement agency would also not say whether Iran had officially requested the red notices or whether the claim was part of what Hook described as a round of propaganda against the president. As of this writing, Trump has not acknowledged the arrest warrant publicly.