Donald Trump recently hit back against Iran‘s threat to attack U.S. assets to avenge the death of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, claiming he would attack Iranian cultural sites in retaliation. The threat was criticized by many who claimed such a move would amount of war crimes, but it doesn’t appear to have phased the president.
Speaking to reporters on Air Force One on Sunday, Trump doubled down on his threat, CNBC reports.
“They’re allowed to kill our people. They’re allowed to torture and maim our people, they’re allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people. And we’re not allowed to touch their cultural sites. It doesn’t work that way.”
In the wake of the Iraqi parliament passing a resolution calling for the withdrawal of all U.S. troops in the country, Trump suggested that Iraq would face “sanctions like they’ve never seen before ever” if the country tries to force the U.S. from the region.
“We have a very extraordinarily expensive air base that’s there,” Trump said. “It cost billions of dollars to build. Long before my time We’re not leaving unless they pay us back for it.”
The president reaffirmed that any “hostility” on the part of Iraq would lead to “very big sanctions.”
Trump’s comments tonight regarding Iran and Iraq are not only unacceptable, they’re unAmerican. American military forces adhere to international law. They don’t attack cultural sites. And they’re not mercenaries. Reckless and unprecedented words from a Commander-in-Chief. pic.twitter.com/QslMU8Vxah
— Brett McGurk (@brett_mcgurk) January 6, 2020
As The Inquisitr reported, Trump claimed to have a list of 52 Iranian cultural sites that could be targeted by the U.S. But according to a senior U.S. military official that spoke anonymously, he is not aware that the U.S. military possesses any such list as Trump has described.
The official suggested that America’s military has a variety of possible target lists, such as naval bases, missile bases, and nuclear facilities, but nevertheless said he did not know of a file that included cultural sites, nor one that had exactly 52 targets.
Trump’s threat to Iranian cultural sites has been made with pushback from many who believe it’s a step too far. CNN reports that two senior U.S. officials claim there is “widespread opposition” within the Trump administration to his purported plan to attack cultural sites.
Speaking to the network, one of the officials suggested that the “deliberate destruction of beloved cultural sites” would rally people together against the U.S., while the second official said that America plans to follow the “laws and norms” of war and show respect to Iranian culture.
Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy had harsher words for Trump’s comments, likening his threat to those espoused by terrorists.