Iran, Iraq Call for Int'l Prosecution of Orchestrators of General Soleimani’s Assassination
TEHRAN (FNA)- An investigation committee comprised of officials from Iran and Iraq reached a joint agreement on taking all necessary legal measures to prosecute perpetrators behind the US assassination of top Iranian anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani and deputy commander of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.
"This committee started the legal proceedings to pursue and prosecute the parties involved in the January 2020 assassination of the two distinguished commanders," the Joint Investigation Committee set up by Iran and Iraq said in a statement issued at the end of their two-day meeting in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.
The investigation committee announced that all possible judicial and legal measures would be taken to bring to justice and punish perpetrators and those involved in the heinous crime.
In a relevant development on Thursday, Secretary General of Iran's Human Rights Headquarters Kazzem Qaribabadi confirmed in a series of tweets that the investigation committee has concluded its work by issuing a joint statement.
“Both sides recognized that the crime was committed during the official visit of Martyr Soleimani to Iraq; condemned the crime as a serious crime, which violated the national sovereignty of Iraq and rules of international law and human rights; stressed the necessity to combat the impunity of the perpetrators and bring them to justice,” Qaribabadi wrote.
The senior Iranian official also stated that the two sides agreed "to take all possible legal and judicial measures to prosecute and punish all those involved in the crime, particularly US agents and nationals involved".
The joint statement on Thursday also underlined bolstering cooperation between the two countries and called for employing the entire existing capacities to complete the ongoing investigations and resume meetings as soon as possible.
The next meeting of the joint judicial team will be held next month in the Iranian capital, Tehran.
General Soleimani and Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis and ten of their deputies were martyred by an armed drone strike as their convoy left Baghdad International Airport on January 3, 2020. The attack was ordered by then US President Donald Trump.
To date, Iran’s chief civilian prosecutor has indicted 36 individuals in connection with the assassination, among them former president Trump, the head of US Central Command General Kenneth McKenzie Jr., and former US Secretaries of State and Defence Mike Pompeo and Mark Esper.
The file remains open to the further addition of individuals that Tehran determines to have played a role in the killing.
“Based on the statements of the prosecutor-general the list of 36 names is open, as is the role of nine others including German military personnel under investigation. The German military personnel are suspected of facilitating the assassination. Their number and exact role is not known and although I suspect, I am still not sure if they are the ones operating at Ramstein (Airbase),” a source was quoted by al-Mayadeen as saying in October, asking to remain unnamed.
Ramstein Airbase in Germany is one of the largest American military installations in the world, functioning as a command center for NATO, the US air force’s European and African commands as well as a primary hub for drone operations throughout the Greater Middle East and North Africa.
“G4S that is in charge of Baghdad International Airport security also stands accused of involvement in Lt. General Haj Qassem Soleimani’s assassination,” the source added.
G4S is a British multinational private security company that is among the world’s largest private employers with a workforce of over 500,000 as of 2020.
Some 26 of the indicted individuals are known to be American and Israeli military and intelligence personnel, at least four of whom have died since January 3- 2020. On July 1 of this year, the Israeli press reported the death of Col. Sharon Asman of the elite Nahal Brigade, claiming he had collapsed during a training exercise.
Among the 36 indicted individuals were also seven local agents from regional Arab states, believed to include Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, UAE, and Qatar. Most of these individuals have now been either apprehended or killed by the authorities of their own countries or by the Resistance Front, according to al-Mayadeen.