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Iran seeks to prosecute 127 overseas suspects over Qassem Soleimani killing

Tehran has sent 11 letters to nine countries, calling on officials to take measures against the suspects who have not yet been publicly identified, according to Fars News
A banner of Qassem Soleimani, is seen during a ceremony in Tehran to mark the second anniversary of the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani on 3 January 2022
A banner depicting Iran's General Qassem Soleimani seen during a ceremony in Tehran to mark the second anniversary of his killing on 3 January 2022 (Reuters)

Iran said on Wednesday that it intended to prosecute 127 people in other countries for alleged involvement or cooperation with the assassination of Major-General Qassem Soleimani two years ago by the administration of former US President Donald Trump.

Judiciary spokesperson Zabihollah Khodayian said the country sent 11 letters to nine countries, asking them to take measures against the alleged culprits, whose details were not published, Fars News reported.

Khodayian added that Iran and Iraq had signed a memorandum of understanding relating to the prosecutions and have also formed working groups. Soleimani and Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis were both assassinated in a US drone strike at Baghdad airport on 3 January 2020.

On Monday, as Tehran marked two years since the death of the general, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi vowed revenge against Trump - unless the former US president was put on trial over the killing.

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"If Trump and [former Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo are not tried in a fair court for the criminal act of assassinating General Soleimani, Muslims will take our martyr's revenge," Raisi said in a televised speech on the second anniversary of the general's death.

Soleimani, the shadowy top commander of the IRGC's Quds Force, was responsible ​​for Iran's clandestine overseas operations and was often seen on battlefields guiding Iraqi Shia groups in the war against Islamic State.

The 2020 nighttime strike destroyed a convoy carrying Soleimani and Muhandis, deputy leader of Iraq's Hashd al-Shaabi coalition of pro-Iranian armed groups, as well as others.

The killing sent shockwaves across the region and sparked fears of a direct military confrontation between Washington and Tehran, with dozens of rockets and roadside bombs targeting western security, military, and diplomatic sites across Iraq since the assassination.

Soleimani's funeral drew millions, and his martyr's portrait can now be seen on streets across the country. 

The second anniversary of the general's killing was met with a number of incidents including hackers with suspected links to Iran taking over the websites of Israeli newspapers Maariv and the Jerusalem Post, where they posted a threatening message.

Meanwhile, Iraqi security forces on Monday morning said they had foiled an attack by two armed drones, which were shot down while approaching a military base that hosts US forces near Baghdad. No casualties were reported.