Iran’s Judiciary chief Ebrahim Raeisi says US President Donald Trump will ultimately have to pay for ordering assassination of top anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani.
“Trump would have to pay back, whatever his position,” Raeisi told Lebanon’s al-Manar television network Sunday night. The chief justice was giving the interview on the occasion of the first anniversary of General Soleimani’s assassination in Baghdad.
“Whether he heads the US administration or not, Trump should face retribution for the atrocity he has perpetrated,” he added.
The former commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and his companions, including top Iraqi counter-terrorism official Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, were assassinated in a US drone strike while General Soleimani was on an official visit to the Iraqi capital.
Iran has issued an arrest warrant and asked the international police organization Interpol for help in detaining Trump, who ordered the assassination, and several other US military and political leaders behind the terrorist act.
Recently, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said revenge for the Iranian general was certain and would be exacted at the right time.
Raeisi called the assassination an example of “state terrorism” that took place in a third country, while General Soleimani was on an official visit at the invitation of Iraq’s prime minister.
“This is definitely an atrocity that does not reconcile with any of the international laws and regulations and humanitarian principles, and whose perpetrators are prosecutable,” Raeisi said.
He said all those who assisted the US president in committing the assassination or were accomplices in the targeted killing have been identified, pledging that the Islamic Republic would not give up its efforts to prosecute those who ordered, perpetrated, and abetted the assassination.
Tehran is in possession of “significant evidence” related to the assassination, the chief justice noted. It is keeping up its efforts towards prosecution of the culprits through a special tribunal at home, in cooperation with Baghdad, and on the international arena, including through international legal channels and the United Nations, he added.
“If the evidence is examined independently and on the basis of international law and human rights, our efforts will yield result,” he said.
However, those behind the assassination should primarily be convicted in the international public opinion and conscience, Raeisi noted.
The Judiciary chief also pointed to the late November assassination of senior Iranian nuclear physicist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh in Tehran. The Islamic Republic considers the Israeli regime to be the prime suspect in the assassination.
The Islamic Republic, Raeisi said, will not rest until it also takes revenge for Fakhrizadeh’s assassination. “Iran has the upper hand because it is up to the country to pick the manner, time, and weapon it chooses to exact the revenge.”
Finally, the chief justice predicted that fallout from the assassinations would not favor either the United States or the Israeli regime because neither General Soleimani’s assassination managed to weaken the regional resistance axis and pursuit of his struggle, nor Fakhrizadeh’s targeted killing stamped out advancement of Iran’s nuclear energy program.
Iraqi resistance group vows ‘harshest revenge’
Ali al-As’adi, chairman of the Political Board of the Iraqi resistance group known as Harakat al-Nujaba, said, “We will not allow the blood of Iraq’s guest (General Soleimani) to be trampled upon.”
The Iraqi nation, leaders, social activists, and resistance forces “will exact the harshest revenge in the near future, he told influential Tehran-based daily Kayhan.
Due to their courage and justice-seeking attitude, the Iraqi people cannot stand such an act of aggression by “an occupying foreign force against their sons and guests,” the official said.
Asadi pledged that the country’s resistance fighters will keep up their struggle until they eject “the last of the enemy forces” from the Arab country.