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Iran, Iraq stress intl. prosecution of masterminds behind General Soleimani’s assassination

The file photo shows Iranian anti-terror commander General Qassem Soleimani who was assassinated in a US drone strike in Iraq on January 3, 2020. (By Tasnim news agency)

An investigation committee comprised of officials from Iran and Iraq has announced the conclusion of a joint agreement on taking all necessary legal measures to prosecute perpetrators behind the last year’s US assassination of top Iranian anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani and deputy commander of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

The Joint Investigation Committee set up by Iran and Iraq said in a statement issued at the end of their two-day meeting in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad on Thursday that it has started the legal proceedings to pursue and prosecute the parties involved in the January 2020 assassination of the two distinguished commanders.

The investigation committee announced that all possible judicial and legal measures would be taken to bring to justice and punish perpetrators and those involved in the heinous crime.

General Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), and his Iraqi trenchmate Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s PMU, were martyred along with their companions in a US drone strike authorized by former President Donald Trump near Baghdad International Airport on January 3, 2020.

Both commanders were highly popular because of their key role in fighting the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in the region, particularly in Iraq and Syria.

In a relevant development on Thursday, Kazem Gharibabadi, the secretary general of Iran's Human Rights Office, confirmed in a series of tweets that the investigation committee has concluded its work by issuing a joint statement.

“Both sides recognized that the crime was committed during the official visit of Martyr Soleimani to Iraq; condemned the crime as a serious crime, which violated the national sovereignty of Iraq and rules of international law and human rights; stressed the necessity to combat the impunity of the perpetrators and bring them to justice,” Gharibabadi wrote.

The senior Iranian official also stated that the two sides agreed “to take all possible legal and judicial measures to prosecute and punish all those involved in the crime, particularly US agents and nationals involved.”

The joint statement on Thursday also underlined bolstering cooperation between the two countries and called for employing the entire existing capacities to complete the ongoing investigations and resume meetings as soon as possible.

The next meeting of the joint judicial team will be held next month in the Iranian capital, Tehran.

General Soleimani was viewed by the world's freedom-seeking people as the key figure in defeating Daesh, the world’s most notorious terrorist group, in the Middle East battles.

Iran unleashed a barrage of missiles on a US military base in Iraq on January 8, 2020 as part of its revenge for the assassination. US positions in Iraq have since been targeted several times.

Anti-US sentiment has been running high in Iraq since the assassination of the two top commanders. Iraqi lawmakers approved a bill only days after the heinous crime, demanding the expulsion of all foreign military forces led by the United States from the country.

On the first anniversary of the cowardly assassination operation, a Baghdad court issued an arrest warrant for Trump as part of its investigation into the targeted killings. 

Iran also issued a warrant for the arrest of the ex-US president and asked Interpol to relay it as a “red notice” to other police forces around the world. 

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