Iran, Iraq Stress Determination to Punish Culprits behind Assassination of General Soleimani
TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran and Iraq in a joint statement underlined their determination to identify, prosecute and punish the culprits behind the assassination of former IRGC Qods Force Commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani and Deputy Head of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.
Iran and Iraq have issued a joint statement on an investigation into the “criminal and terrorist” assassination by the US of top anti-terror commanders of the two countries in Baghdad early last year, Iranian Judiciary Deputy Chief and Secretary General of Iran's Human Rights Headquarters Kazzem Qaribabad said on Thursday.
He added that the statement was issued during the second session of a joint Iran-Iraq committee investigating the murder of General Soleimani and al-Muhandis.
Qaribabadi said that in the statement, Iran and Iraq stressed that the assassinations were a “violation of the rules of international law, including relevant international conventions on the fight against terrorism”.
“In addition, the two countries reaffirmed their serious and firm determination to identify, prosecute and punish all those involved in deciding, planning and implementing this criminal act,” he emphasized.
Qaribabadi noted that the two countries have exchanged documents and reports about the case.
“Documents and information related to the role and interference of the American defendants were presented by the Iranian delegation to the Iraqi side, and it was decided that complementary investigations would be carried out by the judiciaries of the two countries in this regard,” the senior Iranian human rights official said.
He added that Iran and Iraq also agreed to continue the exchange of documents and information in the investigation process.
“In the joint statement, the two sides also emphasized that they would use legal and judicial capacities at national and international levels to deliver justice and prevent the occurrence of such criminal acts,” Qaribabadi pointed out.
They also agreed to continue bilateral cooperation to gather information about all defendants and ways to hold them accountable.
The third round of the joint committee will be held in Baghdad within the next 45 days.
General Soleimani, 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 Defense 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.