US 'begged' Iran not to retaliate for Soleimani killing, deputy FM says

“The US sent a message to Iran via the Swiss ambassador to demand that Iran not give a response, but it was rejected immediately.”

Qasem Soleimani, commander of IRGC Quds Force (photo credit: SAYYED SHAHAB-O-DIN VAJEDI/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
Qasem Soleimani, commander of IRGC Quds Force
(photo credit: SAYYED SHAHAB-O-DIN VAJEDI/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
Following the US assassination of Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani, Washington had begged Tehran not to carry out any retaliation against US interests, Iran's deputy foreign minister said Sunday, according to Iran's semi-official Fars news agency.
“The US sent a message to Iran via the Swiss ambassador [whose mission also acts as Washington’s interests section in Tehran] to demand that Iran not give a response, but it was rejected immediately,” Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Mohsen Baharvand said.

The deputy foreign minister then referred to a recent UN report that described the assassination of Soleimani as an unlawful violation of international law.
“Condemnation of the US act by Ms. [Agnès] Callamard as the UN special rapporteur, an expert and an unbiased lawyer, is valuable, and the report is now one of the UN documents and will remain for several decades in future.”
Soleimani was the target of a US drone strike on a convoy at Baghdad International Airport in Iraq on January 3. The attack also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), which have been referred to as an Iranian proxy force in the region.
In total, five Iranian and five Iraqi men were killed in the attack.
Beginning on January 8, the IRGC launched retaliatory attacks on US targets in the region.
In late June, the Islamic Republic announced that it had issued arrest warrants for 36 officials involved in Soleimani's death, all of whom are accused of murder and terrorism.
“Thirty-six individuals who have been involved or ordered the assassination of [Soleimani], including the political and military officials of the US and other governments, have been identified and arrest warrants have been issued for them by the judiciary officials and red alerts have also been issued for them via the Interpol,” Tehran's prosecutor-general Ali Alqasimehr said at the time.
Topping the list, according to Alqasimehr is US President Donald Trump, adding that he will be prosecuted once his term in the White House ends.
Iran had asked Interpol to issue a “red notice” seeking the arrest of Trump and the other individuals on the list. However, both the US and Interpol dismissed the idea of acting on such a warrant, with US Iran envoy Brian Hook dismissing the warrant as a “propaganda stunt.”
“Our assessment is that Interpol does not intervene and issue red notices... [of] a political nature,” he said during press conference that took place in Saudi Arabia at the time.
Reuters contributed to this report.