Washington 0
14 February 2020

Congress released a White House memo in which the administration contended that the killing of Qassem Soleimani was “in response to an escalating series attacks in preceding months by Iran and Iran-backed militias on U.S. forces and interests in the Middle East region”. “The purposes of this action”, the memo added, “were to protect U.S. personnel, to deter Iran from conducting or supporting further attacks against U.S. forces and interests, to degrade Iran’s and [IRGC] Quds Force-backed militias’ ability to conduct attacks and to end Iran’s strategic escalation of attacks on, and threats to U.S. interests”. It went on to assert that “as a matter of international law, the strike targeting Soleimani in Iraq was taken in U.S. national self-defence… although the threat of further attack existed, recourse to the inherent right of self-defence was justified sufficiently by the series of attacks that preceded the 2 January strike”.

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