At UN, US justifies killing Iranian commander as self-defence

Shi'ite Muslims hold pictures of slain top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani to pay him tribute during a candlelight vigil in Islamabad on Jan 8, 2020. PHOTO: AFP

UNITED NATIONS (REUTERS) - The United States told the United Nations on Wednesday (Jan 8) that the killing of Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani was self-defence, and vowed to take additional action "as necessary" in the Middle East to protect US personnel and interests.

In a letter to the UN Security Council, US Ambassador Kelly Craft said the US also stands "ready to engage without preconditions in serious negotiations with Iran, with the goal of preventing further endangerment of international peace and security or escalation by the Iranian regime".

The killing of Major-General Soleimani in Baghdad last Friday was justified under Article 51 of the UN Charter, wrote Ms Craft in the letter seen by Reuters, adding: "The United States is prepared to take additional actions in the region as necessary to continue to protect US personnel and interests."

Under Article 51, countries are required to "immediately report" to the 15-member Security Council any measures taken in exercising the right of self-defence.

The US used Article 51 to justify taking action in Syria against Islamic State militants in 2014.

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