Iran sanctions more US officials over Soleimani assassination

In a symbolic move, Iran has added more US officials to a list that already included Donald Trump and Mike Pompeo.

Iranian men hold up pictures of Qassem Soleimani
Iranian men hold pictures of Qassem Soleimani, during a ceremony to mark the second anniversary of the military commander's killing in a US drone attack [Majid Asgaripour/WANA via Reuters]

Tehran, Iran – Iran has imposed sanctions on dozens of United States officials, many of them from the military, adding to its blacklist of individuals whom it says played a role in the 2020 assassination of its top general, Qassem Soleimani.

The Iranian foreign ministry said in a statement on Saturday that 51 Americans have been blacklisted in relation to the “terrorist act” of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) general’s assassination, and human rights violations.

US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, Central Command chief Kenneth McKenzie, Pentagon officials, and commanders in several US bases across the region are among individuals targeted by the sanctions.

The sanctions are largely symbolic as the named individuals are not thought to have assets which could be seized by Iranian authorities.

A year earlier, Iran had imposed sanctions on former US President Donald Trump, his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and eight others who played a role in the killing of Soleimani near Baghdad airport in Iraq. It had also sought their arrest through Interpol, the international police organisation.

The move on Saturday comes shortly after the second anniversary of Soleimani’s killing in a US drone attack ordered by Trump.

In a ceremony marking the anniversary earlier this week, President Ebrahim Raisi said Trump, Pompeo and others must be tried in a “fair court”, warning that otherwise Iran and its allies in the so-called “resistance axis” that Soleimani championed would seek revenge.

Iran has also called on the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council to take formal action against the US and Israel – which it also accuses of providing assistance.

The IRGC on Friday exhibited an array of its locally developed missiles that it said were used in its 2020 attack against two US bases in Iraq in retaliation for the general’s assassination.

The Trump administration in 2018 unilaterally withdrew from the country’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers and embarked on a “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran, which included harsh sanctions.

Iran and the remaining signatories to the deal – France, Russia, China, the United Kingdom and Germany – are now engaged in intense negotiations in Vienna to try to restore the accord. Representatives of the Biden administration are taking part in the talks indirectly.

Iran has demanded that most US sanctions are lifted before it scales back its nuclear programme, which has advanced rapidly since the imposition of the sanctions.

Source: Al Jazeera