Iranian justice announced Monday that an arrest warrant targeting around 30 people, including the American president, Donald Trump, and several military leaders of the United States, had been launched in connection with the targeted assassination. in January of General Qassem Soleimani.
The Prosecutor General of Tehran, Ali Alqassi-Mehr, indicated that the accused were wanted for “murder” and “terrorist action” and that a request had been made to Interpol for a international wanted notification is launched on them.
The announcement aroused rapid disavowal from the US special envoy for Iran, Brian Hook, who described the initiative as a “political scheme” with no chance of being relayed by the international police organization.
“This is propaganda that no one takes seriously and which impersonates the Iranians for idiots,” Hook said in a statement reported by Agence France-Presse.
Thomas Juneau, a Middle East specialist attached to the University of Ottawa, said Monday that the Iranian approach was largely “symbolic” and intended first and foremost for the people of the country.
The arrest warrant, he said, “has no chance of succeeding and will go nowhere”, even if legitimate legal questions arise as to how Qassem Soleimani was eliminated.
A majority of international law experts “say that the operation was potentially illegal”, recounts Mr. Juneau, referring to the death of the general, struck by an American drone as he left Baghdad airport in a convoy on January 3.
The attack on the soldier, who was killed at the same time as the leader of an Iraqi militia acquired in Tehran, had been approved by the American president.
Donald Trump has indicated that he aims to avenge attacks orchestrated in the past by Qassem Soleimani. He went on to say that the Iranian general was preparing new attacks on US embassies, citing a notion of “imminent threat” often used by Washington to justify drone strikes abroad in countries with which the United States States are not at war.
The American operation in Baghdad had provoked indignant reactions from the Iranian regime, which a few days later targeted Iraqi bases where American soldiers were found in retaliation.
Fearing a counterattack, the Iranian forces shot down a civil plane which left Tehran, killing 176 people, including dozens of Canadians.
Both the attack on Qassem Soleinmani and the tragic fate of the plane's passengers remain “very sensitive” subjects in Iran, notes Juneau, who describes the mandate against President Trump as an attempt by Iranian leaders. to mobilize the population at a critical time.
The regime is very aware of its vulnerability. Diverting attention to external enemies is a classic ploy.
Iran is hard hit by the COVID pandemic – 19 and had officially listed as of Monday over 225 00 0 cases of infection and near 11 00 0 dead.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei sounded the alarm over the weekend by noting that many Iranians had “relaxed” to stem the spread of the new coronavirus, favoring a new outbreak.
The physical distancing measures have exacerbated the economic difficulties of the country, which is also hard hit by the American sanctions, notes Thomas Juneau.
Donald Trump has reneged on 2018 the nuclear agreement which was concluded under the leadership of his predecessor, Barack Obama, and seeks to increase the pressure on the Iranian regime to force it to negotiate a new agreement.
The American head of state again publicly urged Iranian leaders a few weeks ago to return to the table to discuss, but the scenario seems improbable at this stage, notes Juneau.
Iranian leaders, he said, hope that a victory for former Democratic Vice President Joe Biden in the November presidential election will allow them to reconnect with a more conciliatory interlocutor.
“Nothing will happen in the nuclear file before 2021”, concludes the professor from the University of Ottawa.