Iran, the Other Country Prosecuting Donald Trump, Reacts to ‘Stunning Legal Reckoning’ in NYC

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Hassan Ammar/AP

Iranian state media outlets limited their commentary on Friday regarding former President Donald Trump’s criminal conviction on Thursday, describing it as a “stunning legal reckoning” for Trump and “uncharted territory” for America.

Trump was convicted on Thursday on 34 charges pertaining to allegations that he falsified business records to conceal criminal activity. The jury did not have to agree on what criminal activity Trump was allegedly trying to cover up when he did so, an instruction that legal observers widely condemned.

Judge Juan Merchan set the sentencing date for Trump’s trial as July 11, four days before the start of the Republican National Convention, where Trump is expected to become the official Republican nominee in the 2024 presidential race. Trump has vehemently denied the charges and accused President Joe Biden of having a hand in orchestrating the trial to undermine his most formidable election opponent.

“We’re going to be appealing this scam. We’re going to be appealing it on many different things,” Trump promised on Friday. 

WATCH — Donald Trump Speaks After Being Convicted on All 34 Counts: “This Is Far from Over”


In addition to the United States, Trump has been facing legal prosecution in Iran since 2020, when he ordered a military airstrike to eliminate Iranian Foreign Terrorist Operations Chief Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani. Soleimani died alongside Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the founder of the Hezbollah Brigades, one of several Iran-backed Shiite militias operating in Iraq, while on a visit to Baghdad that year.

Iranian officials have tried unsuccessfully to convince Interpol to issue a “red notice,” or request for arrest, to all member nations for Trump, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and several other members of the Trump administration identified as having played a role in the Soleimani airstrike. Soleimani was formally the head of the Quds Force, the foreign operations wing of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The Trump administration designated the IRGC a terrorist organization in 2019 in light of its extensive involvement in supporting terrorist activity in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and throughout the Middle East.

Iran’s attempts to imprison Trump — futile in light of Trump not having any known plans to visit the country in the foreseeable future — did not appear in state media coverage of his trial in New York.

The Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), a regime propaganda outlet, noted that Trump will now also not be able to travel to Iran even if he wanted to due to having a criminal record — effectively making the prosecution of the Soleimani case against him impossible. The IRNA listed several countries that do not welcome foreigners with criminal records and theorized that international travel could be compromised for the potential future president as a result of the New York case.

Iranians lift national flags during a ceremony in the capital Tehran, on January 3, 2022, commemorating the second anniversary of the killing in Iraq of top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani (portrait) and Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in a US raid. (Photo by ATTA KENARE / AFP) (Photo by ATTA KENARE/AFP via Getty Images)

Iranians lift national flags during a ceremony in Tehran on January 3, 2022, commemorating the second anniversary of the killing of top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani in a U.S. raid. (ATTA KENARE/AFP via Getty Images)

The Tasnim News Agency, an Iranian outlet believed to have ties to the IRGC, described the Trump trial as a “stunning legal reckoning,” noting that it “exposes him to potential prison time in the city where his manipulations of the tabloid press helped catapult him from a real estate tycoon to reality television star and ultimately president.”

“Though the legal and historical implications of the verdict are readily apparent, the political consequences are less so given its potential to reinforce rather than reshape already hardened opinions about Trump,” Tasnim suggested.

PressTV, another Iranian state outlet, similarly informed readers that Trump will be able to continue campaigning for president despite the conviction, “and he can still vote for himself in his home state of Florida as long as he stays out of prison in New York state.”

“The 2024 US presidential election is in uncharted territory after former President Donald Trump is found guilty of the entire 34 felonies in his hush money trial, the first American head of state in US history to be convicted of a crime,” PressTV observed.

Iran’s Spanish-language regime propaganda network, HispanTV, offered what appeared to be a sympathetic commentary on Trump.

“This case obviously entails a judicialization of politics,” commentator Jorge Luis Santa Cruz told the state broadcaster.

“The Democrat government of President Joe Biden has taken this matter as a ‘legal’ way to try to take his top rival out of the electoral contest, Donald Trump,” Santa Cruz opined. “But the matter is that Trump is positioned now in a way that benefits him more, [in] the posture of political persecution.”

Santa Cruz claimed the public would consider the U.S. justice system more interested in Trump’s alleged violations than in “Hunter Biden and President Joe Biden’s corruption scandals in Ukraine,” which could benefit Trump.

Joe Biden and Hunter Biden

U.S. President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden (Michael Reynolds/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

At press time, Iranian media outlets have not connected Trump’s New York case to Tehran’s attempts to imprison him over the Soleimani strike.

Trump ordered the elimination of Soleimani in January 2020 shortly after Iran-backed terrorists in Baghdad, where Soleimani was visiting, spray-painted “Soleimani is our commander” on the side of the U.S. embassy there. Soleimani specialized in aiding battlefield terrorism, and the U.S. government believed him responsible for the deaths and injuries of hundreds of Americans in Syria and Iraq.

“This should have been done for the last 15-20 years,” Trump said following the strike. “Him in particular [Soleimani]. He was their real military leader. He’s a terrorist. He was designated as a terrorist by [President Barack] Obama, and then Obama did nothing about it.”

Tehran Prosecutor General Ali Alqasi-Mehr requested arrest warrants for Trump, Pompeo, and a total of 36 people he claimed planned the airstrike in June 2020 on the grounds of “murder” and “terrorism.” Shortly thereafter, the Iranian Islamist regime requested that Interpol issue a “red notice” for Trump and the others. Interpol is essentially a communications mechanism with no enforcement; a “red notice” is a request to all Interpol member nations to arrest a person but not an order. Interpol refused to issue the notice for Trump.

“Under Article 3 of Interpol’s constitution ‘it is strictly forbidden for the Organization to undertake any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character’,” the organization said in a statement in response to the request. “Therefore, if or when any such requests were to be sent to the General Secretariat, in accordance with the provisions of our constitution and rules, Interpol would not consider requests of this nature.”

A year after the airstrike in Baghdad, an Iraqi judge similarly issued an arrest warrant for Trump on charges of “premeditated murder.” If convicted, Trump could face the death penalty in Iraq.

At an event marking the second anniversary of the airstrike in 2022, then-Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi issued a threat against Trump and Pompeo.

“If Trump and Pompeo are not tried in a fair court for the criminal act of assassinated General Soleimani, Muslims will take our martyr’s revenge,” Raisi railed. “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 died in a helicopter crash on May 19.

Tehran again issued an arrest warrant for Trump in March 2023 but has yet to take any known actions to enforce it.

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.


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