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Iran Renews Interpol Request To Arrest Trump, Other U.S. Officials

Iran is seeking to detain President Trump over the U.S. killing of top Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani. Here, an Iraqi fighter stands in front of a banner at the site of the drone strike at Baghdad International Airport.
Iran is seeking to detain President Trump over the U.S. killing of top Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani. Here, an Iraqi fighter stands in front of a banner at the site of the drone strike at Baghdad International Airport.

Iran is asking Interpol to issue a "red notice" for the arrest of President Trump and 47 other U.S. officials, citing the targeted killing a year ago of Qassem Soleimani, a powerful Iranian general. It's the second time Iran has asked for help in detaining the U.S. president.

In response to Tuesday's announcement, Interpol reiterated its stance that it does not consider requests for a red notice that are deemed to be motivated by political or military concerns.

Iranian judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili called Trump "the main culprit" in Soleimani's killing, according to the semiofficial Mehr News Agency.

"The request to issue 'Red Notice' for 48 people involved in the assassination of Martyr Soleimani, including the US President, as well as commanders and officials at the Pentagon and forces in the region, were handed over to Interpol," Esmaili said at a briefing.

He added that the assassination was a "terrorist crime" and said the red notice request also includes U.S. military commanders and officials both in the region and at the Pentagon.

President Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former Secretary of Defense Mark Esper have said the U.S. targeted Soleimani — a key architect of Iran's strategy in conflicts involving the U.S. — to prevent a looming threat.

Trump said Soleimani had been "plotting imminent and sinister attacks" against American interests.

A U.N. investigator said last summer that the U.S. strike targeting Soleimani in Baghdad "was unlawful and arbitrary under international law," as well as being a violation of Iraq's sovereignty.

An Interpol red notice is a request to law enforcement agencies worldwide to help find and arrest fugitives who are wanted either for prosecution of a crime or to serve a prison sentence.

Interpol's General Secretariat told NPR on Tuesday that according to the international police body's constitution, "it is strictly forbidden for the Organization to undertake any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character."

Iran issued its first request to arrest the U.S. president last June. As it marked one year since the deaths of the general and others who were with him, Iran said it won't stop pursuing Trump, even after he leaves the government later this month.

"Trump will have to pay back, whatever his position," Iran's judiciary chief, Ebrahim Raisi, said on Sunday night, as Iran marked the anniversary of Soleimani's killing. "Whether he heads the U.S. administration or not, Trump should face retribution for the atrocity he has perpetrated," Raisi said, according to conservative Iranian newspaper Kayhan.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.