Interpol, the worldwide police cooperation organization, on Monday rejected a request by Iran for help in detaining US President Donald Trump and dozens of others whom Tehran accuses of helping to carry out the US drone strike that killed a top Iranian general in Baghdad
A local prosecutor said earlier that Iran had issued an arrest warrant for Trump and then requested Interpol put out a notification for it to be internationally enforced.
But Interpol said it would not consider Iran’s request, meaning Trump faces no danger of arrest.
However, the charges underscore the heightened tensions between Iran and the United States since Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers.
Interpol issued a statement saying its guidelines for notices forbids it from “any intervention or activities of a political” nature.
Interpol “would not consider requests of this nature,” it said.
Tehran prosecutor Ali Alqasimehr said Trump and 35 others whom Iran accuses of involvement in the January 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.
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 they can put government leaders on the spot and limit suspects’ travel.
After receiving a request, Interpol meets by committee and discusses whether 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.
Brian Hook, the US special representative for Iran, dismissed the arrest warrant announcement during a news conference in Saudi Arabia on Monday.
“It’s a propaganda stunt that no one takes seriously and makes the Iranians look foolish,” Hook said.
The US 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. The US believed Soleimani was planning a terror attack on Western forces in the Middle East and also said he was behind attacks on US targets by Iranian proxies.
Iran retaliated to Soleimani’s killing with a ballistic missile strike targeting American troops in Iraq.