Iran: US Assassination of General Soleimani Violation of Int'l Law
TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN Majid Takht Ravanchi said that Washington violated the basic norms and principles of international law by assassination of former IRGC Qods Force Commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani.
Takht Ravanchi made the remarks, addressing the UN Security Council Open Arria Formula Meeting on right to self-defense in New York on Wednesday.
He also warned of a growing tendency among some countries to resort to threats or use of force under the pretext of exercising their right to self-defense, referring to the case of the assassination by the US of General Soleimani as a case in point.
“If unchecked, the right to self-defense will not only be abused more frequently by such states, but also they will institute further exceptions to the principle of the prohibition of the threat or use of force,” Takht Ravanchi said.
He pointed to the US’s brutal assassination of General Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, in Iraq early in 2020 in a gross violation of the basic norms and principles of international law.
Takht Ravanchi said the US administration, through its communication to the Security Council president, desperately attempted to “justify such an obvious act of terrorism through a series of fabrications and an extremely arbitrary interpretation of the Charter’s Article 51.”
To justify the crime, Trump baselessly claimed the Iranian general was targeted because he was planning “imminent and sinister” attacks on US diplomats and military personnel.
However, he added, “Many international law scholars and practitioners have categorically rejected such an interpretation of the right to self-defense.”
Elsewhere in his address, Takht Ravanchi commended as “one of the greatest accomplishments” of the Security Council the prohibition of the threat or use of force, save the two exceptional cases authorized by the UN Charter, and said the preservation and full observance of the cardinal principle of international law are a “collective responsibility that must be fulfilled responsibly.”
The Iranian diplomat highlighted the importance of an obligation by all countries to protect their citizens and territories and enjoy an inherent right to self-defense.
He said, “the term ‘inherent’, clearly and adequately reflects the natural foundations and essential importance of this right, which of course, must be exercised only ‘if an armed attack occurs’” while heeding the criteria of necessity, proportionality and immediacy.
He further added that all countries should “immediately” brief the Security Council of the main elements of their self-defense measures which might be different from one case to another.
“It is obvious that Article 51 has not obligated states to observe specific requirements, other than immediacy, in their reporting, and therefore, has left the decision to the discretion of reporting states,” the Iranian envoy pointed out.
He stressed the importance of avoiding any reinterpretation or arbitrary interpretation of Articles 2 (4) and 51 of the UN Charter in order to “prevent the progressive erosion of the principle of prohibition of the threat or use of force.”
Lieutenant General Soleimani was assassinated in a US drone strike on Baghdad International Airport in Iraq on January 3, 2020.
The airstrike also martyred Deputy Commander of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Unit (PMU) Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. The two were martyred in an American airstrike that targeted their vehicle on the road to the airport.
Five Iranian and five Iraqi military men were martyred by the missiles fired by the US drone at Baghdad International Airport.
On January 8, 2020 and after the funeral ceremony of General Soleimani, the IRGC Aerospace Force started heavy ballistic missile attacks on US Ein Al-Assad airbase in Southwestern Iraq near the border with Syria and a US operated airbase in Erbil in retaliation for the US assassination of General Soleimani.
Ein Al-Assad is an airbase with a 4km runway at 188m altitude from sea levels, which is the main and the largest US airbase in Iraq. Early reports said the radar systems and missile defense shields in Ein Al-Assad failed to operate and intercept the Iranian missiles. Unofficial reports said the US army's central radar systems at Ein Al-Assad had been jammed by electronic warfare.
The second IRGC reprisal attack targeted a US military base near Erbil airport in Iraqi Kurdistan Region in the second leg of "Martyr Soleimani" reprisal operation.
Iraq said the attacks had not taken any toll from its army men stationed at these two bases. The US army had blocked entrance into Ein Al-Assad to everyone, including the Iraqi army.
The IRGC officials said none of the missiles had been intercepted.
Meantime, Iran announced in late June that it had issued arrest warrants for 36 officials of the US and other countries who have been involved in the assassination of the martyred General Soleimani.
"36 individuals who have been involved or ordered the assassination of Hajj Qassem, including the political and military officials of the US and other governments, have been identified and arrest warrants have been issued for them by the judiciary officials and red alerts have also been issued for them via the Interpol," Alqasi Mehr said at the time.
He said that the prosecuted individuals are accused of murder and terrorist action, adding that US President Donald Trump stands at the top of the list and will be prosecuted as soon as he stands down presidency after his term ends.