Why has Iran issued arrest warrants against President Trump and 35 others

Middle eastern regional power, Iran has sought the arrest of President of United States, Mr. Donald Trump over the assassination of Iranian’s topmost Major General Qasem Soleimani, who led the expeditionary Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). 

Iran had issued an arrest warrant against President Donald Trump and 35 others charging them with murder and terrorism, while requesting the Interpol, the worldwide police cooperation organization, to enforce the warrant internationally.

Anyone other than President Trump has not been identified by Ali Alqasimehr, the Tehran prosecutor. Nevertheless, it was proclaimed by him that Iran will continue with the prosecution, even after the tenure of the President ends in December 2020.  

What led to the issuance of the arrest warrant?

  • The charges on the President of the United States can be traced back to the unending proxy wars between Iran and Saudi Arabia, two regional powers of the Middle East. The USA is an ally of Saudi Arabia, which has resulted in hostility between the USA and Iran for over 40 years now.
  • The animosity restored under the presidential leadership of U.S President Donald Trump when he unilaterally withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action also known as the Iran nuclear weapon deal in 2018, signed between the countries under the tenure of former President, Barack Obama. The two nations have accused each other for various drone attacks that followed the withdrawal of the nuclear weapon deal with world powers. 
  • Thereafter, on April 8, 2019, President Donald Trump labelled Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a branch of Islamic military as a ‘foreign terrorist organization’.  
  • The United States held Major General, Qasem Soleimani of IRGC, responsible for a rocket attack in December 2019, launched on a US military base in Iraq which led to the death of an American contractor and wounded several US military service members.
  • The USA retaliated the rocket attack by launching airstrikes on Iranian backed forces in Iraq and Syria, killing over 25 people. Agitated by this move, a pro-Iranian mob attacked the US embassy in Iraq on December 31st, 2019. 
  • President Donald Trump gave an open threat to Iranian authoritiesover twitter, following the rocket attack. Consequently, Major General Qasem Soleimani was assassinated on January 3, 2020, by a US drone strike near Baghdad International Airport, ordered by President Trump, maintaining that the terminated General was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American troops and had planned sinister attacks on US military personnel and diplomats.
  • Iran did not succumb to the threats and retaliated through a ballistic missile attack on two military bases housing US forces in Iraq, after mourning for three days over the General’s death. It was Iran’s most direct assault on the US since 1979. 

Does Interpol have power to make arrest?

Interpol is an international association of governments with the mission of assisting and coordinating law enforcement efforts among its members.

The Interpol disseminates information and research between nations by issuing color-coded notices

In the present matter, Iran had asked requested the INTERPOL to issue a red notice, the highest-level notice issued by Interpol, requesting the location and arrest of the individual named.

A “Red Notice” as provided on the official website of the France based organization, is “a request to law enforcement worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender, or similar legal action.”

It is not an international warrant for arrest. It is issued by the organization at the request of a member country, in accordance with INTERPOL’s Constitution and Rules. 

The Constitution of the INTERPOLdefines its role and provides that the organization cannot undertake any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious, or racial character.

It does not possess any specific power to arrest. When a member nation approaches it with a specific request backed with court orders, the Interpol sends it out to other countries. The information received is sent back to the country.

On June 29, 2020, a spokesperson from Interpol had reiterated the provisions of its Constitution which prohibits it from intervening in political, military, religious, or racial matters.

Response by the United States

A US special representative in Iran, Brian Hook discussed the Constitution and authority of Interpol to enforce the arrest warrants issued by Iran, during a conference in Saudi Arabia. He asserted that the Constitution forbids it to undertake any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious, or racial character. He stated that “It is a propaganda stunt that no one takes seriously and makes the Iranians look foolish.”

Forthcoming relations between Iran and the USA

The current political tensions between the nations are apprehended towards upsurge sanctions that would destabilize the Iranian economy, already hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

President Donald Trump has made deliberate measures over the years to ‘economically squeeze’ Tehran through consecutive rounds of sanctions, targeting individuals and entities.

Trump faces no real threat of arrest as of now, but the increased conflicts make apparent that fresh there are no signs of subsiding.

 

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