A high-ranking Iranian official announced Wednesday that the nation would soon publish an indictment against the individuals responsible for the drone strike that eliminated Major General Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force, a year ago on Sunday.
President Donald Trump ordered the airstrike against Soleimani and the head of the Iraqi Hezbollah Brigades Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis on January 3, 2020 in Baghdad. Both the IRGC and the Hezbollah Brigades are U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organizations.
As head of the Quds Force, Soleimani led the IRGC’s international operations and foreign policy. U.S. officials believe that he is responsible for the death and severe injury of hundreds of American soldiers, pioneering the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that often results in the loss of limbs. Soleimani was also believed to be a main point of contact between Iran and rogue states like Venezuela, which held a funeral in his honor.
Following Soleimani’s demise, Iran’s ability to pursue expansionist policies – previously resulting in interventions in, among other countries, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen – has been dramatically reduced. Successor Esmail Qaani has yet to make any prominent moves as head of the Quds Force.
Hossein Amir Abdollahian, a special aid to the speaker of the Iranian Parliament, announced Wednesday that Iran had identified 48 people “who carried out the assassination or abetted to the heinous crime in the January terrorist attack,” meaning the strike against Soleimani.
“Today, Iran could identify who was the leader of the attack, from which country the attack was carried out and who gave information about terrorist operation to the U.S.,” the state-run Fars News Agency paraphrased Abdollahian as saying. The aide claimed it took Iran an entire year to “collect the documents in and out of the country.”
President Trump announced in nationally televised remarks on January 3 that he had personally ordered the strike against Soleimani.
“Last night. at my direction, the United States military successfully executed a flawless precision strike that killed the number one terrorist anywhere in the world, Qasem Soleimani,” Trump confirmed. “We took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war.”
“Trump is the number one criminal in the assassination of martyr Soleiamni [sic], who has admitted to the crime before the world people and he may by no means be seen immune to punishment for this act,” Iranian Judiciary Chief Seyed Ebrahim Rayeesi said on Wednesday, according to Fars.
Iranian officials had made a similar announcement in June that they would seek legal action of an unspecified sort against at least 36 people “who have been involved or ordered the assassination” of Soleimani, “including the political and military officials of the US and other governments.” Iran allegedly issued arrest warrants for those individuals, but does not have the power to execute them if they do not enter Iran.
Iran also attempted to pressure Interpol to issue Red Notices for these individuals – letters to international law enforcement organizations notifying them that the people for which the notices have been issued are wanted by a state entity for criminal activity. Red Notices do not mandate any country to arrest those identified.
The individuals in the most recent indictment will allegedly not all be American officials who openly spoke of their participation. Tehran has reportedly spent months seeking to identify Iranian individuals or other foreign nationals who gave Americans the intelligence necessary to successfully carry out the strike.
Abdollahian nonetheless allegedly “added that 45 Americans suspected of involvement in the terrorist attack have also been identified and rulings have been issued for them to be prosecuted internationally.”
In anticipation of the anniversary, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani issued remarks on Sunday, again condemning President Trump for his actions.
“Assassination [sic] of martyr Lt. Gen. Soleimani is an unforgivable crime and oppression committed by U.S. President Donald Trump,” Fars paraphrased Rouhani as saying during a meeting on Thursday. The meeting reportedly had nothing to do with Soleimani or the armed forces; it was “the inaugural ceremony of 25 water and electricity industry projects.”
Iranian military figures issued a warning against the United States on Thursday, warning that Iran’s revenge for Soleimani’s killing was imminent, just as they had warned in January.
“January 3 is reminiscent of a tragic event in the history of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in which … a brave man who destroyed Daesh [ISIS] — the most violent Takfiri [Sunni] terrorist organization nurtured by the U.S. and its stooges … was cowardly martyred at the hands of the most vicious enemy of the world’s Muslims and the Islamic Republic, i.e. the arrogant and terrorist U.S. government,” Mohammad Baqeri, the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of Iran’s armed forces said on Thursday.
The Iranian Islamic regime maintains – through both statements from officials and its state propaganda outlets – that America created the Islamic State and that Soleimani was engaged in fighting the ISIS caliphate in Iraq and Syria. Tehran has offered no credible evidence for its claims.
“The revenge for the assassination of General Soleimani has no expiry date and the revolutionary youth of the region and the world will make double efforts to achieve this goal,” Baqeri warned.
Another Iranian general, Seyyed Abdolrahim Mousavi issued a similar threat in an interview with the Iranian military’s official propaganda outlet Thursday.
“Fear of revenge will not leave alone the Americans, Zionists [Israel], and those that had accompanied them [in assassinating Soleimani],” he alleged. “They are aware that the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Leader are serious and will fulfill their promise.”