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U.S. and Iran Submit Article 51 Letters on Use of Force

Hadley Baker
Thursday, January 9, 2020, 6:09 PM

Published by The Lawfare Institute
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In a letter to the United Nations Security Council on Jan. 8, United States Ambassador to the U.N. Kelly Craft reported the targeted killing of Iranian military leader Qassem Soleimani last week was an act of self-defense under Article 51 of the U.N. Charter in response to an “escalating series of armed attacks in recent months” by Iran and Iranian-backed forces on U.S. personnel. The letter adds that the U.S. is prepared to take further action “as necessary to continue to protect U.S. personnel and interests.”

Iranian Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi also sent a letter to the U.N. on Wednesday justifying its actions on Jan. 8 targeting an American base in Iraq as self-defense against the killing of Soleimani. The letter emphasized that Iran “does not seek escalation or war,” but that it is prepared to “defend its people, sovereignty and territorial integrity against any aggression.” Iran’s letter is available here and the U.S. letter is available here. Both are also available below.

Hadley Baker was an Assistant Editor of Lawfare. She is a recent graduate from the University of St Andrews, studying English literature and Spanish. She was previously an intern at Lawfare.

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