This piece was reprinted by OpEdNews with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.
In the early hours of January 3, 2020, the United States military assassinated Iran's most powerful military commander, General Qasem Soleimani.
Soleimani's killing, accomplished by means of a drone strike in Baghdad, was done without the authorization of the Iraqi government. It thus constitutes a grave breach of Iraqi sovereignty.
It also constitutes an act of war against the state of Iran. Soleimani was a high-ranking representative of the Iranian government, reputed by many to be the second most powerful official after Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The U.S. government sought to justify Soleimani's assassination on the basis that Soleimani was allegedly planning one or more "imminent" attacks on Americans.
According, however, to New York Times correspondent Rukmini Callimachi, who consulted with knowledgeable sources within the United States government, the evidence suggesting there was to be an imminent attack on American targets is "razor thin."
As stated by Agnes Callamard, the U.N.'s Special Rapporteur on on Extra-Judicial Executions:
Outside the context of active hostilities, the use of drones or other means for targeted killing is almost never likely to be legal.
Ms. Callamard went on to explain that:
To be justified under international human rights law, intentionally lethal or potentially lethal force can only be used where strictly necessary to protect against an imminent threat to life.
Thus, Soleimani's assassination was not only a grave breach of Iraqi sovereignty and an act of war against Iran, it was also a violation of international human rights law.
Even worse, on January 5, Iraq's Prime Minister revealed that Trump had called him to ask him to mediate between Saudi Arabia and Iran with a view to defusing tensions between them and that the U.S. assassinated Soleimani at the very moment when Soleimani was carrying a response to the Saudi initiative.
In response to these shocking revelations, former U.S. Green Party leader Jill Stein tweeted:
Now THIS is grounds for #impeachment - treachery unleashing the unthinkable for Americans & people the world over: Trump asked Iraqi prime minister to mediate with #Iran then assassinated Soleimani - on a mediation mission.
Undeterred by the collapse of his mendacious justification for provoking war with Iran, Trump threatened on January 5 to target Iranian cultural sites - a brazen war crime - if Iran elected to retaliate against his act of war.
Meanwhile, Iran has announced its withdrawal from the Obama-era nuclear deal, referred to as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or "JCPOA." The JCPOA's future was already in grave doubt due to the Trump administration's withdrawal from the agreement in 2018 and his subsequent imposition of crushing sanctions on Iran - which are destroying Iran's health infrastructure and causing innocent Iranians to suffer and die.