Tehran, Iran – An Iranian prosecutor said that a British security company and an air base in Germany were involved in the assassination of Qassem Soleimani nearly a year after the United States’ assassination of the chief general in Iraq.
The allegations come amid mounting tensions between the two countries, as Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Thursday accused outgoing US President Donald Trump of wanting to fabricate a “pretext for war.”
At a press conference on Wednesday, Tehran prosecutor Ali Alqasimehr claimed, without providing evidence, that London-based security services company G4S played a role in the murder of Soleimani, who was accompanied by the Iraqi commander. Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and several others.
“The agents of this company transmitted the information of General Soleimani and his comrades to the terrorists as soon as they entered the airport,” Alqasimehr said with reference to the Baghdad international airport, according to Mizan, the official news site. of Justice.
Soleimani and his convoy were targeted shortly after leaving the airport by a U.S. drone strike ordered by President Trump.
The British company confirmed it was responsible for a “number of security requirements” contracted out by the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority at the time of the assassination, but denied the charges.
“In response to recent and completely unfounded speculation, G4S would like to make it clear that it has absolutely no involvement in the attack on Qassem Soleimani and Abu-Mahdi al-Muhandis which took place on January 3, 2020,” said a G4S spokesperson at Al Jazeera to a written statement.
The Tehran prosecutor also said that a US air base in Germany “had processed reports of guiding the drone for the assassination and handed over the drone flight data to US forces.”
Iranian authorities previously said the United States used Ramstein Air Base in southwest Germany for Soleimani’s assassination.
The base serves as the headquarters for the US Air Force in Europe, in addition to NATO Allied Air Command, and has served as a control center for US drone operations in West Asia in recent years.
Alqasimehr said Iran continues to prosecute those who ordered and carried out the strike on Soleimani through legal means, including through Interpol. The authors include 45 American individuals, he said without naming them.
The prosecutor also said that Iran had granted legal representation rights to Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Qatar, Jordan and Kuwait to investigate the assassination.
‘Making a pretext for war’
Tensions continue to rise in the Middle East a few days before the January 3 anniversary of the murder of the Iranian commander.
A series of Katyusha rockets landed in the heavily fortified Green Zone of Baghdad in an attack on the US Embassy on December 20 that caused minor damage to the compound.
The Iraqi military said an “outlaw group” was responsible, but the United States was quick to point the finger at Iran, accusing it of escalating tensions.
Trump tweeted a photo of a few rockets, claiming they were unexploded Iranian rockets.
Iran has denied responsibility, saying the Trump administration was trying to start a war in the weeks before it was required to step down.
On Thursday, Foreign Minister Zarif said on Twitter that “Iraqi intelligence points to a plot to fabricate a pretext for war.”
“Iran is not seeking war but will openly and directly defend its people, its security and its vital interests,” he tweeted.
A day earlier, the United States flew two B-52 strategic bombers over the Gulf for the second time this month in a show of force it said was aimed at deterring Iran from attacking US or allied targets in the region.
Iranian Army Air Force Commander Aziz Nasirzadeh warned Wednesday against a “decisive response” from the armed forces if the United States continues “adventurism.”
In addition, Soleimani’s replacement as head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force, Esmail Ghaani, had a closed-door meeting with parliamentarians.
Speaking to a televised cabinet meeting, President Hassan Rouhani also said: “You cut off our general’s hand, we will cut off your leg from the region and will continue to resist to this day.”
The Iranian justice chief reiterated Iran’s position on Wednesday that, as the person who directly ordered the strike on Soleimani, Trump is the main target of the prosecution.
“Trump is the first criminal in the murder case of the martyr Soleimani, who himself confessed to this crime in front of everyone and therefore cannot be immune from punishment,” Ebrahim Raisi said to journalists.
“Fortunately, Trump’s presidency is over. But even if his term was not over, it would be unacceptable to say that someone should not be accountable to the law because of their administrative position, ”he said, referring to the legal immunity of current presidents.
In a separate press conference on Wednesday, the spokesperson for the powerful constitutional oversight body Guardian Council also said Iran would legally sue Trump after he left the White House on January 20.
“The legal prosecution of the crime of the American regime, in particular Donald Trump, for ordering the assassination of the martyr General Soleimani in international courts has its special demands and the immunity of heads of state from prosecution. prevents, ”he said.
But he added that “some international experts believe that after Trump’s presidency it might be possible.”
At the end of June, Alqasimehr issued an arrest warrant for Trump and dozens of others on “charges of murder and terrorism”, but Interpol said its constitution prohibited it from undertaking “any political intervention or activity. , military, religious or racial ”.
In July, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamard, said Soleimani’s assassination was a violation of international law, a statement the United States called “a terrorists ”.