As outgoing President Donald Trump’s time in office draws to a close, Iran has filed a notice with Interpol requesting his arrest and that of 47 other American officials over their roles in the assassination of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani last year. After Soleimani’s death, Iran fired rockets at a U.S. base in Iraq, leaving over 100 U.S. personnel with brain injuries. Now, continuing their effort to strike back against the United States, Iranian judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili says that Iran “is very seriously following up on pursuing and punishing those who ordered and executed this crime.” Interpol has already rejected a similar arrest request from Iran that also targeted Trump.
Iranian Chief Justice Ebrahim Raisi observed that “[fortunately], Trump’s presidency has ended. But even if his term hadn’t ended, it would be unacceptable to say someone shouldn’t be accountable to law due to his administrative position.” Ali Kadkhodaei, a spokesperson for the top Iranian governmental body known as the Guardian Council, added that “some international experts hold the view that after Trump’s presidency is over this [prosecution] might be possible.”
Recently, among other developments in the region, Iran seized a South Korean oil tanker in the Persian Gulf, insisting that the vessel violated “environmental protocols.” A U.S. spokesperson observed in response that Iran “continues to threaten navigational rights and freedoms in the Persian Gulf as part of a clear attempt to extort the international community into relieving the pressure of sanctions,” adding that U.S. authorities “join the Republic of Korea’s call for Iran to immediately release the tanker.” Earlier in his presidency, Trump himself undercut the Iran deal that constrained the Iranian nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief, withdrawing the U.S. from the agreement.
Over in the U.S., New York authorities have already been pursuing investigations targeting Trump. New York state Attorney General Letitia James and Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, another state authority, have both been investigating various issues involving the Trump Organization. Once Trump leaves office, he will be losing any tentative protection from potential criminal proceedings that are currently in place in the U.S.