The Iranian government has signaled its plans to sue President Donald Trump and the U.S. military for carrying out the drone strike that killed top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani on Jan. 3.
“We intend to file lawsuits in the Islamic Republic, Iraq and The Hague Court (International Court of Justice) against the military and government of America and against Trump,” Iranian Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaeili said in a statement to the Tehran Times.
Esmaeili described the U.S. airstrike as an act of terror for which Trump has already “confessed.”
“Trump has confessed doing the crime. The firmest reason for accusing an individual is his confession,” Esmaeili said.
Esmaili said the Iranian government will first file its lawsuit in Iran through the Islamic Penal Code and will then file additional lawsuits through the Iraqi court system and then the Hague international court.
Soleimani was leaving the Baghdad international airport in Iraq with members of the pro-Iranian Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) militia group when he was killed. PMU deputy commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and eight others were reportedly killed in the strikes.
Prior to the U.S. strike, members of pro-Iranian militias fired rockets that killed one U.S. contractor in Iraq and injured others. Those militia groups also instigated attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad in response to U.S. retaliatory airstrikes for the prior rocket attacks.
Trump and others within his administration have said Soleimani was planning imminent attacks on other U.S. positions in the region. Trump also credited Soleimani for indirectly wounding and killing hundreds of U.S. troops through Iranian proxies.
On Jan. 8, Iran fired retaliatory missile attacks at two U.S.-coalition bases in Iraq. The missile strikes did not result in any deaths, but new reports have indicated at least 11 U.S. troops were hospitalized with concussion symptoms in the days after the attack. The missiles also damaged a U.S. HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter and some canvas tents.
In his comments to the Tehran Times, Esmaeili said Iran would take additional steps in its revenge on the U.S., including to end what the publication described as an “illegitimate presence of the Americans in the region.”
Iran may have its own international legal troubles to account for, after confirming it shot down a Ukrainian international flight in the hours after its Jan. 8 missile attacks.
Five nations have discussed legal action against Iran for the missile strikes that killed their citizens aboard the Ukrainian airliner. Iran’s missiles killed all 176 people aboard the Ukrainian airliner, including citizens from Ukraine, Canada, Sweden, Afghanistan and the UK.