Iran’s Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili says the US assassination of Major General Qassem Soleimani is a flagrant violation of international law as he was targeted while being in Baghdad as a “formal” and “high-profile” guest of the Iraqi government.
Speaking to Radio Tehran, the spokesperson said that the killing of an invitee of a sovereign government by “a foreign country illegally present” in Iraq constituted a “blatant instance of government terrorism”.
“This was a barbaric act which goes against human rights and violates all international laws,” he said.
“As the judiciary, we will pursue this crime through international bodies alongside the Foreign Ministry and the High Council of Human Rights,” Esmaili added.
Esmaili’s remarks also echoed those of the deputy commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Brigadier General Ali Fadavi, who stressed that Soleimani had been assassinated while formally visiting Iraq.
“Iraq’s government authorities regularly invited Soleimani to meetings regarding various subjects, this is why he had been constantly traveling to the country,” he said.
Soleimani, leading the Quds Force of the IRGC, was assassinated in American airstrikes in Baghdad early on Friday.
The Trump administration has sought to justify the killing as an act of self-defense, hyping up baseless accusations against the former commander.
“We took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war,” said Trump on Friday.
Legal experts and rights investigators in the US have, however, noted that Washington’s assassination constituted as a violation of international law.
Assassination among ‘worst crimes’ targeting Iran
On Saturday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani visited the home of Soleimani and expressed his condolences to his grieving family.
The president also congratulated his household on the martyrdom of the renowned commander.
“Soleimani was not only a military commander who planned major operations but also a politician and an exceptional and capable strategist,” he said.
Soleimani’s services to the country and the region’s security, specifically in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Afghanistan are “unforgettable,” the president added.
He noted the assassination will be remembered in history and among the Iranian people as one of Washington’s major crimes against the Iranian nation.
“The Americans have not understood what a big mistake they have committed; they will face the consequences of this criminal act not only today but also in the future,” he said.
Rouhani added that “without doubt, the US is hated by the Iranian and Iraqi people today more than before”.