On 10 January, during an interview with Sky News, Iran's ambassador to the United Kingdom, Hamid Baeidinejad, rejected video footage obtained by American media that showed bulldozers clearing the crash site as "absurd". Baeidinejad further denied that an Iranian missile had brought down the airplane, and said that "[p]lane accidents are a very technical issue, I cannot judge, you cannot judge, reporters on the ground cannot judge. Nobody can judge. A foreign minister or a prime minister cannot judge on this issue."
On 6 January 2020, the Pentagon released a letter from Marine Brigadier General William Seely to Abdul Amir, the Iraqi deputy director of Combined Joint Operations Baghdad, informing him that "as requested by the Iraqi Parliament and the Prime Minister, CJTF–OIR will be repositioning forces over the course of the coming days and weeks to prepare for onward movement." Shortly afterward, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley said, "That letter is a draft. It was a mistake, it was unsigned, it should not have been released ... [it was] poorly worded, implies withdrawal, that is not what's happening."More Info
On 9 January, media reports showed bulldozers being used to clear the crash site. Some aircraft investigation experts expressed concerns about disturbing and damaging the crash site before a thorough investigation can be conducted. Iran denied bulldozing the evidence. On 10 January, the Iranian government granted Ukrainian investigators permission to investigate the flight recorders and Ukrainian investigators visited the crash site, with plans to download the recorders in Tehran. On 14 January, the head of the TSB, Kathy Fox, said there were signs that Iran would allow the TSB to participate in the downloading and analysis of data from the airplane's flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder. On 23 January, the TSB announced that they had been invited by Iran to help with the flight recorders.More Info
Agnès Callamard, the United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, maintained that the airstrike "most likely violate[d] international law incl[uding] human rights law", adding that killing of other individuals alongside Soleimani was "absolutely unlawful". On 6 July 2020, Callamard said that the attack was first known incident in which a nation invoked self-defence as a justification for an attack against a state actor in the territory of a third country and that the United States has failed to provide sufficient evidence of an ongoing or imminent attack against its interests in order to justify the strike. In a report to be presented to the UN human rights council, Callamard wrote "the course of action taken by the US was unlawful" and was a violation of the UN charter. On 8 July, 2020, responding, the U.S. State Department said "This tendentious and tedious report undermines human rights by giving a pass to terrorists and it proves once again why America was right to leave the council."More Info
Shortly before the U.S. Department of Defense announced the strike, President Trump posted a U.S. flag on Twitter. The next morning, he held a public statement saying he had authorized the strike because Soleimani was plotting "imminent and sinister attacks" on Americans. He added, "We took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war." He also said he did not seek a regime change in Iran. On 4 January, Trump tweeted that 52 Iranian targets (representing the 52 American hostages in the 1979–81 Iran hostage crisis) had been selected if Iran "strikes any Americans, or American assets". Iranian President Rouhani responded to Trump's warning: "Those who refer to the number 52 should also remember the number 290", referring to the 1988 shooting down of Iran Air Flight 655, by a U.S. warship in which 290 were killed. Among those targets were Iranian "cultural sites", and Trump subsequently insisted he would not hesitate to destroy such targets even after some said it could be considered a war crime.More Info
A mutual agreement signed in 2008 prohibits the U.S. from launching attacks on other countries from Iraqi territory. Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi said the attack was a "breach of the conditions for the presence of U.S. forces in Iraq". He also said "The assassination of an Iraqi military commander who holds an official position is considered aggression on Iraq ... and the liquidation of leading Iraqi figures or those from a brotherly country on Iraqi soil is a massive breach of sovereignty." He and Speaker of the Council of Representatives Mohamed al-Halbousi released separate written statements, both calling the attack a breach of Iraq's sovereignty.According to the office of the Iraqi caretaker prime minister, the U.S. secretary of state has subsequently been requested to send a delegation to Iraq tasked with formulating the mechanism for the withdrawal of U.S troops from Iraq.More Info
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