Sat Jan 18, 2020 10:5
US Assassination of General Soleimani and International Law
TEHRAN (FNA)- On January 33 and under the direct order of President Donald Trump, the US army assassinated Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, in a drone attack at Baghdad International Airport.

Four days later, Iran successfully launched missiles at US military bases in Iraq in retaliation. Developments are still ongoing and it is time to analyze whether the US had the legal authority to execute such a deadly strike under international law and Charter of United Nations.

Seeking to defend this criminal action, the US government highlights two arguments: First, the IRGC has been designated as "a foreign terrorist organization" by the United States. As a result, Qassem Soleimani is "a terrorist mastermind". President Donald Trump goes even further to label him as "world's number one terrorist". For this reason, Trump claimed that "we take comfort in knowing his reign of terror is over". Second, according to Trump, Soleimani "was plotting imminent and sinister attacks on American diplomats and military personnel, but we caught him in the act and terminated him."

Though these explanations may be accepted by the Western audience at first glance, a careful assessment under international law and UN Charter will lead to an opposite answer:

First and foremost, it should be emphasized that the IRGC was designed as a terrorist organization by the US unilaterally instead of by the UN Security Council. Although there's a lack of universal agreement on the definition of terrorism or terrorist group under international law, two principles must be noticed:

- A particular state does not have the legal authority to declare a terrorist organization under international law.

- State entities, generally speaking, should not be placed on the list of terrorist organizations.

In the light of these two principles, Washington’s declaration that IRGC is a terrorist organization is hardly established and lawful. The IRGC is not a terrorist group at all according to the UN Security Council even though it had its assets frozen but it was lifted in 2016. More importantly, the IRGC is a branch of the Iranian Armed Forces, which means it is part of the Iranian government. In light of these, Washington’s first agreement is groundless and unlawful.

Secondly, Trump alleged the danger posed by Soleimani which prompted the US to conduct this strike was "imminent". In other words, the US has been arguing that the strike was out of some anticipatory self-defense. However, the assassination of Soleimani did not meet the elements of lawful self-defense under international law and UN Charter.

As a general principle, outside of an on-going armed conflict, international law prohibits the use of force, which is a peremptory norm codified in UN Charter. The only possible exception to the prohibition applicable in this case is self-defense. Nevertheless, the exception is limited. Some restrictions are provided in UN Charter Article 51 and others in the general principles of international law. It follows that international law does not permit the use of military force to respond to an alleged plan to an attack in the future including the "imminence". The "Imminence" is not included in UN Charter Article 51. The actual words are "if an armed attack occurs."

Even if an imminent attack could be resorted as justification to use force, the US failed to provide any rock-solid evidence to support its baseless claim. It still has no such evidence. On January 9, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed, "There is no doubt that there were a series of imminent attacks that were being plotted by Qassem Soleimani". He then acknowledged that, "We don't know precisely when, and we don't know precisely where, but it was real." So the US argument that the strike was an act of anticipatory self-defense is indeed far from being persuasive and true.

Last but not the least, the US assassinated General Soleimani in Iraq rather than on its own territory, which encroached upon the sovereignty of Iraq, an independent sovereign state. Under the principle of equality of state sovereignty, the cornerstone of modern international law, the US was not permitted to use military force or execute its domestic law on Iraq’s territory. It had no consent.

In summation, the US went against international law and UN Charter. It also violated Iraq’s sovereignty by assassinating General Soleimani on Iraq’s soil - the man who helped Iraq and Syria to dislodge the terrorist group of ISIL when the whole world looked the other way. The US never had the consent from Iraq in the first place, which is why Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi expressed his anger that the airstrike also killed an Iraqi official. This is also the reason why the Iraqi Parliament passed a resolution on January 5, calling for the government to expel US troops from the country in the wake of such a violation of their sovereignty, which by the way, was also condemned by the international community.





Bottom top
Iran to Fight Coronavirus More Seriously via Increase of Medical, Health Items Production

TEHRAN (FNA)- An official with the Industry Ministry said that Iran has succeeded in multiplying production of various items and equipment to help the nationwide battle against COVID-19.
Labour: Unemployment in UK Could Go 'Way Beyond Anything We've Experienced'

TEHRAN (FNA)- Unemployment could soar to levels “way beyond anything we’ve experienced before” unless the government extends the furlough scheme and gets to grips with the looming crisis, Labour announced.
White House Reportedly Plans to Interview Pentagon Officials for 'Political Litmus Test'

TEHRAN (FNA)- The American magazine Foreign Policy quoted unnamed sources as saying that as of next week, White House staffers will start interviewing political appointees at the US Department of Defense.
Washington State Claims US Gov't Providing Unsterile COVID-19 Screening Supplies Amid Surge in Testing Demand

TEHRAN (FNA)- Medical supplies sent by the federal government to help with coronavirus testing have been too slow to arrive and have failed quality control checks, according to Washington state’s top health official.
Official: 20% of Iranians Infected with Coronavirus

TEHRAN (FNA)- A senior Iranian medical official said that nearly 18mln people in Iran have so far been infected with the COVID-19 virus.
Top Security Official: US Assassination of General Soleimani Huge Gift to Terrorists

TEHRAN (FNA)- Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani said that Washington's assassination of former IRGC Quds Force Commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani was the biggest gift to the terrorists in the region.
Iran No More Needs Foreign Aid to Repair Offshore Drilling Rigs

TEHRAN (FNA)- An official of Mostazafan Foundation announced that Iran has become self-sufficient in repairing offshore drilling rigs.
Iran Identifies 2,449 New Coronavirus Cases

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Iranian health ministry announced on Saturday that 2,449 new cases of infection to COVID-19 virus have been diagnosed in the country in the past 24 hours, adding that 1,148 patients have been hospitalized.
Tehran, Moscow Confer on Energy Cooperation, Upcoming Joint Commission

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian envoy to Moscow Kazzem Jalali met with Russian Deputy Energy Minister Anatoly Tikhonov and held talks on the upcoming mutual energy cooperation within the framework of the joint economic commission.
Over 1 Ton of Narcotics, Four Smugglers Captured in Southern Iran

TEHRAN (FNA)- Anti-narcotics police seized 1,087 kilograms of illicit drugs and disbanded four trafficking gangs in South of Iran, a judiciary official of Hormozgan province announced on Saturday.
More Coronavirus Restrictions in Place in Iran as of July 5

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday that wearing mask will be compulsory in crowded and public places as of Sunday (July 5).
Iran’s FM Wishing Instant Recovery for Pakistani Counterpart

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif expressed hope that Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmoud Qureshi who has tested positive for coronavirus will recover immediately.
UK Chancellor Urges Public to Head Back to Pubs, Restaurants to Help Save Economy

TEHRAN (FNA)- Chancellor Rishi Sunak urged Britain to “eat out to help out” in a bid to boost the economy as it emerges from a lockdown slump.
US Troops Ordered to Suspend Activities in Colombia After Presence Deemed Unlawful

TEHRAN (FNA)- US troops have been ordered to suspend activities in Colombia for 48 hours after a court ruled that their presence in the South American country was unlawful.
COVID-19 in Spain: Local Lockdown in Catalonia Due to Virus Outbreak

TEHRAN (FNA)- The government of Catalonia announced on Saturday that the county of Segria will be placed under lockdown to try to contain the spread of COVID-19.