A Critical View towards U.S. Claim of Preemptive Self-Defense in the Assassination of General Qasem Soleimani

Document Type : Original Article


1 Criminal Law Researcher

2 Associate Professor, International Law, Hazrat-e Masoumeh University, Qom, Iran



The reason claimed by the Government of the United States (hereinafter the US) for the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani (General Soleimani) was to prevent imminent attacks. This allegation implicitly evokes the Doctrine of "Preemptive Self-Defense". This article evaluates the US claim in the attack of General Soleimani as a preemptive self-defense through a critical analysis. The US resort to the doctrine of preemptive self-defense for the assassination lacks legal validity and is especially contrary to the provisions of the UN Charter, particularly Article (51). This assassination can be considered the illegal use of force by the US. According to the principle of prohibition on the use of force in international law practice, any premeditated attack before the beginning of armed aggression is not considered self-defense. Moreover, the US evidence in proving an imminent strike from General Soleimani is inadequate and unjustifying.


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