Interpol has rebuffed a request by the Iranian regime to issue a so-called red notice for Donald Trump over the assassination of Qassim Soleimani, one of the regime’s most senior commanders, earlier this year.
On Monday, an Iranian prosecutor announced he had issued an arrest warrant for the US president and was also seeking help from Interpol.
But shortly after, Interpol announced it would not consider the Iranian request, which means the President faces no risk of being detained.
According to local media reports, Ali Alqasimehr, an Iranian prosecutor, said Mr Trump and 35 other individuals were wanted by Iranian police for their role in the assassination of top general Qassim Soleimani.
Mr Alqasimehr said the warrants had been issued on charges of murder and terrorist action.
He added that Iran had asked Interpol to issue a “red notice” for Mr Trump and the other individuals which the Iranian regime believes took part in the killing of Soleimani.
An Interpol red notice is a formal request to police forces worldwide to arrest a criminal suspect who is wanted by another country.
However, Interpol says it cannot “compel the law enforcement authorities in any country to arrest someone who is the subject of a red notice.” Interpol also does not consider requests which are politically motivated.
The Iranian prosecutor said the group of wanted individuals included other US military and civilian officials but did not elaborate further, and that Iran would continue to pursue Mr Trump after his time in office ends.
The warrant and Interpol request reflect deep and persistent tensions between the Trump Administration and Iran, which very nearly erupted into a full-blown armed conflict after Soleimani’s death in January.
Soleimani, the leader of the Iranian regime’s elite Quds Force, was assassinated on January 3 during a US drone strike at Baghdad airport in Iraq.
At the time, Washington believed that he was planning a terrorist attack against Western forces in the region, and had also accused him of masterminding attacks on US targets with the help of pro-Iran militias.
Iran responded by firing missiles at US targets in Iraq several days after the killing, but warned this was only part of its retaliation strategy.
Those airstrikes marked the first time in recent years that Washington and Tehran had attacked each other directly rather than through proxies in the region.
It raised the chances of open conflict erupting between the two rivals, who have been at odds since Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution and the subsequent US Embassy takeover and hostage crisis. More recently, US-Iran tensions have escalated over Mr Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran deal in May 2018.