An international criminal police organization refused a Middle Eastern court order to detain the U.S. president on the charge of assassinating a controversial Iranian general.
Interpol will not help Iran execute an arrest warrant against President Donald Trump for his decision to order a military attack that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani on Jan. 3.
“[Interpol] would not consider requests of this nature,” the organization said according to The Associated Press.
The decision came after the organization reviewed its constitution and discovered it cannot make a lawful arrest, meaning the president is at no risk of being detained by law enforcement officials this time.
“Were such a request to be received, it would be reviewed by Interpol’s office of legal affairs to determine whether it violated Article 3 of Interpol’s Constitution, which forbids the organization from undertaking ‘any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious, or racial character,’” the organization said in an earlier statement.
Interpol confirmed it is prohibited from arresting politicians.
“Interpol’s mission is to support each of its 190 member countries in combating all forms of serious crime but only if it can do so in compliance with its constitution, rules, and regulations,” the organization said. “While certain conduct might be illegal under the laws of any particular Interpol member country, any request for international police cooperation via Interpol channels to seek the arrest internationally of a wanted person, must be in compliance with Interpol’s Constitution, rules, and regulations.”
Diplomatic tensions recently jumped between Iran and the United States, after the President Trump unilaterally withdrew the United States from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers.
Tehran prosecutor Ali Alqasimehr accused Trump and 35 others, whom Iran suspects of being involved in the military drone strike that killed Soleimani in Baghdad, of “murder and terrorism charges” according to the newswire agency.
However, Alqasimehr did not identify any of the other 35 accused collaborators and revealed Iran has requested a “red notice” for all suspects, which is reported to be the highest-level arrest request that Interpol can issue. He also suggested Iran would keep trying to prosecute President Trump even after he departs from the Oval Office.
Under the “red notice” local authorities would usually make the arrest on behalf of the country that originally requested it. The notice does not have the authority to force other nations to arrest or extradite suspects. Rather, it can pressure government leaders by limiting their travel options to non-Interpol member countries.
After a request is made, Interpol organizes a committee to discuss whether to share the information with its member states. The organization is not required to publicize any notices and may sometimes choose to share details on its website.
Interpol’s membership spans 194 countries including Afghanistan, Australia, European Union, Brazil, Canada, mainland China, India, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Other member nations include Israel, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and Zimbabwe according to the organization’s website.
U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook described Iran’s arrest warrant as a political move that should not be taken seriously.
“It is a propaganda stunt that no one takes seriously and makes the Iranians look foolish,” he said according to the newswire agency.