Beset by Coronavirus and economic crisis and a UN arms embargo, Iran’s regime seeks the headline distraction of an arrest warrant for Donald Trump.

Tehran Prosecutor General Ali Alqasimehr said on Monday that Iran is asking Interpol to detain Trump and 38 others over the US assassination of top Iranian military commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

Soleimani was the head of the Quds Force, the Revolutionary Guards branch for operations outside Iran. He was killed on January 3 by an American drone strike outside Baghdad International Airport.

The head of the Iran-backed Iraq militia Kataib Hezbollah, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, was also slain. The US accused Kataib Hezbollah of rocket attacks in Iraq that killed American troops and contractors.

Alqasimehr said the warrants are on charges of murder and terrorist action, with a request for an Interpol “red notice”.

Interpol quickly rejected the Iranian approach, saying its constitution forbids it to undertake “any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character”.

“Therefore, if or when any such requests were to be sent to the General Secretariat,” it added, “… Interpol would not consider requests of this nature.”

The Trump Administration’s envoy for Iran, Brian Hook, was dismissive:

Our assessment is that Interpol does not intervene and issue red notices … (of) a political nature.

This is a political nature. This has nothing to do with national security, international peace or promoting stability….It is a propaganda stunt that no-one takes seriously.

Despite its withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal, the US is seeking an extension of the UN arms embargo against Iran, due to expire in October.

Foreign Secretary Mohammad Javad Zarif will address the Security Council on Tuesday.