Trump declares threat on Iranian cultural sites, warns of US 'major retaliation'

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U.S. President Donald Trump declared threats of attacking Iran’s cultural sites as the U.S. warns of “major retaliation” once Iran strikes back after the killing of one of its major generals, Qasem Soleimani.

In Trump’s interview with reporters on Air Force One, the U.S. President raised threats of sanctions on Iraq as the Iraqi Parliament rallied American troops to withdraw from the country.

Trump along with his advisers are defending the U.S. drone strike where the Iranian major general was killed. The general’s death has raised hostility between the two countries. Meanwhile, Trump defended the strike by saying that Soleimani was planning an attack on US soil, according to intelligence reports. The US president has also said that he would be willing to release intelligence reports if it proved necessary.

When asked about Iran’s possible retaliation, he said: “If it happens, it happens. If they do anything, there will be major retaliation.”

The operation was to avoid war with Tehran, said Trump, who also warned against escalating tensions between the two regions. In a tweet, Trump said that the United States is ready to target 52 Iranian sites, including cultural and highly significant sites, once Iran strikes any American or American assets.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has denied that Trump will target Iranian cultural sites. However he was instantly contradicted by the president when asked about the matter.

“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,” Trump said.

Under international law, targeting cultural sites with the use of military power is regarded as war crime, as well as in the U.N. Security Council resolution supported by Trump and the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property.

After receiving backlash from Iraq on the killing of Soleimani, Trump threatened to sanction Baghdad as the Iraqi parliament called on US troops to leave the country.

“We have a very extraordinarily expensive air base that’s there. It cost billions of dollars to build, long before my time. we’re not leaving unless they pay us back for it,” Trump said.

Furthermore, he said that if Iraq rallied American troops to leave the country in a less friendly manner, “we will charge them sanctions like they’ve never seen before ever. It’ll make Iranian sanctions look somewhat tame.”

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