Donald Trump has a whole new Iran problem

In a desperate last resort to draw attention from his impeachment scandal, Donald Trump decided to commit an act of war against Iran. Rather than drum up the “rally round the flag” effect he was hoping for, the last few days have suggested that his handling of Iran could simply lead us to another scandal, with implications even more unsettling than his Ukraine scandal. Now as his trial unfolds in the Senate, Iran is making an aggressive countermove that will be very difficult for the Trump administration to fight back against.

Rather than another attack on U.S. troops stationed in Iraq or an attack on Israel, Iran decided to pursue a war crimes case against the Trump administration at the International Criminal Court in the Hague. They may actually have a pretty solid case, namely because the killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani could only be justified by evidence of an imminent threat.

We now know that Trump had entertained the possibility of killing Soleimani months ago when John Bolton was still his national security advisor, and Mike Pompeo has largely switched from the unsubstantiated claim that Iran was planning imminent attacks to the even more absurd argument that the killing of Soleimani was meant to be a ‘deterrent’ against attacks from Iran.

According to a NATO official in the region, the case against the Americans is shockingly strong, should Iran move forward with this suit, as their top judiciary spokesman is threatening to do. While the US isn’t a signatory to the court, former American presidents have feared that enemies of the US could use the court in a way to influence foreign policy against American interests – and this is likely what the Iranians have in mind – giving them leverage in the event of a new nuclear deal. Even the threat of them doing something like this makes it incredibly difficult for Donald Trump to retaliate or even negotiate and come out on top.

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