"The coward assassination of Gen. Soleimani, the anti-terrorism hero of our region ... an arbitrary killing & a clear violation of the UN charter,” Mousavi twitted on Thursday.
Referring to Wednesday remarks by US State Department spokeswoman, Morgan Ortagus, who called a recent UN report on the assassination of Lieutenant General Soleimani “tendentious and tedious”, the Iranian official said, "The US is responsible for this criminal act, & can’t whitewash this by chastising the UN," adding, “We’ll never forget, we’ll never forgive.”
On January 3, a US drone strike near Baghdad International Airport assassinated General Soleimani, former commander of the Quds Force of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps. The attack – that also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) anti-terror group, along with several others – came while General Soleimani was on an official visit to the Iraqi capital.
Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, said on Thursday the US has put the world at unprecedented peril with its assassination of the commander, warning that it was high time the international community broke its silence on Washington’s drone-powered unlawful killings.
Callamard called the attack “the first known incident” in which a state invokes what it calls “self-defense as justification for an attack against a government official outside a declared armed conflict."
The international community must now confront the “real prospect” that states would follow in Washington’s footsteps by trying to justify and carry out such acts of bloodshed.
In her recent report released on Tuesday, she underlined the “unlawful” nature of the operation, and said the US had failed to provide sufficient evidence of an ongoing or imminent attack against its interests to justify the strike.
"In light of the evidence that the US has provided to date, the targeting of General Soleimani, and the deaths of those accompanying him, constitute an arbitrary killing for which, under IHRL (international human rights law), the US is responsible," Callamard said in her report.
She said the strike violated the UN Charter, with "insufficient evidence provided of an ongoing or imminent attack," she wrote.
"No evidence has been provided that General Soleimani specifically was planning an imminent attack against US interests, particularly in Iraq, for which immediate action was necessary and would have been justified," Callamard said.
US claim of fighting terrorism
Mousavi also in a statement on Thursday said that the US assassination of General Soleimani took place in absolute disregard for fundamental legal, humanitarian, and moral principles, belying Washington’s claim of fighting terrorism in the region.
“Assassination of this national hero and defender of regional peace and security proved that [fighting] Daesh and terrorism is [only] part of the US’ ploy for plundering the region, and that Washington’s claim of fighting terrorism is a completely hollow and baseless claim,” he added.
Both commanders enjoyed profound reverence among Muslim nations over their endeavors in eliminating the US-sponsored Daesh terrorist group in the region, particularly in Iraq and Syria.
Mousavi pointed to recurrent remarks by former and current American officials in alleged defense of the assassination, saying, “It is nothing new for professional criminals to try to justify their atrocities.”
He called Gen. Soleimani the most influential force against expansion of terrorism and violent extremism, especially the type staged by Daesh, across the region and the world.
The official called on the United Nations and its Human Rights Council to do their part in addressing and condemning such dangerous measures as the one taken by Washington.
Iran’s ambassador to the UN office in Geneva, Esmaeil Baqaei Hamaneh, also denounced the American assassination of Soleimani as an act of state terrorism that has threatened world peace and security.
Addressing the 44th regular session of the UN Human Rights Council on Thursday, Baqaei Hamaneh noted that the US and the country that hosted the American drones used in the operation to assassinate the Iranian commander must be held accountable for the crime.
Press TV, AFP, and Tasnim News Agency contributed to this story.