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Iran demands Trump, Pompeo be tried for Soleimani killing; threatens revenge

Ebrahim Raisi speaks at a political rally in Iran. (Hossein Razaqnejad, Wikimedia Commons released)
January 03, 2022

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi threatened revenge attacks against the U.S. on Monday if former U.S. President Donald Trump and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are not tried and convicted for ordering the Jan. 3, 2020 drone strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

“If Trump and Pompeo are not tried in a fair court for the criminal act of assassinating General Soleimani, Muslims will take our martyr’s revenge,” Raisi said in a speech on Monday, Reuters reported.

“The aggressor, murderer and main culprit – the then president of the United States – must be tried and judged under the (Islamic) law of retribution, and God’s ruling must be carried out against him,” Raisi continued.

According to the Iranian state-run Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), Raisi also said Trump “has to be convicted; otherwise the hand of revenge will come out of the sleeve of the nation.”

Ahead of Raisi’s remarks, IRNA reported Iran’s United Nations Ambassador Takht Ravanchi sent a letter to President of the U.N. Security Council Mona Juul, calling for the U.S. Security Council to hold the U.S. and Israel responsible for the strike on Soleimani.

Soleimani was killed in a drone strike while he traveled from the Baghdad International Airport in Iraq. He was killed alongside Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and Mohammed Reda, who were leaders in the Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) Iraqi militia.

PMF forces had, in the days leading up to the U.S. strike, carried out a deadly rocket attack that killed a U.S. contractor and wounded U.S. service members in Iraq. Supporters of PMF also staged a riotous attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, after U.S. forces launched strikes in retaliation for the deadly rocket attack.

At the time of the strike, the Pentagon assessed Soleimani was in Iraq in support of further planned attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and Americans in the country. At the time, the Pentagon said, “General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region.”

Soleimani had been supportive of Iranian-proxy attacks on U.S. forces throughout the region. Following his death, U.S. Army Gen. David Petreaus said Soleimani had shipped weapons and explosives to terrorist groups throughout the Middle East, which were used to kill an estimated 600 U.S. service members over the years.

In the days after the strike on Soleimani, the U.S. told the U.N. that the strike was done in self-defense. Then-U.S.Attorney General Bill Barr also said Trump had clear authority to order the strike and that Soleimani was a “legitimate military target.”