President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden rips Trump tweets on Iran: ‘Incredibly dangerous and irresponsible’Swalwell pens op-ed comparing Trump impeachment to XYZ Affair Rockets fired near Green Zone after day of mourning for SoleimaniMORE on Sunday evening doubled down on his threat to target Iranian cultural heritage sites, asserting to a group of reporters that the U.S. had the right to strike such targets.
In comments to White House pool reporters, the president dismissed criticism from human rights organizations stressing that such an action would be considered a war crime under international law.
Theyre allowed to kill our people. Theyre allowed to torture and maim our people. Theyre allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people. And were not allowed to touch their cultural sites? It doesnt work that way,” Trump told reporters, referring to Iran.
His remarks follow tweets Saturday threatening to attack sites “at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture” should Iranian-backed forces strike U.S. civilians or military targets in the Middle East in retaliation for the death of Qasem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s Quds forces, in a U.S. airstrike.
“Iran has been nothing but problems for many years,” Trump tweeted on Saturday. “Let this serve as a WARNING that if Iran strikes any Americans, or American assets, we have targeted 52 Iranian sites… some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD. The USA wants no more threats!”
Iran is talking very boldly about targeting certain USA assets as revenge for our ridding the world of their terrorist leader who had just killed an American, & badly wounded many others, not to mention all of the people he had killed over his lifetime, including recently….
Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 4, 2020
Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif responded in his own tweet, warning that such strikes would violate international law.
“Having committed grave breaches of int’l law in Friday’s cowardly assassinations, @realdonaldtrump threatens to commit again new breaches of JUS COGENS,” Zarif tweeted. “Targeting cultural sites is a WAR CRIME.”
-Having committed grave breaches of int’l law in Friday’s cowardly assassinations, @realdonaldtrump threatens to commit again new breaches of JUS COGENS;
-Targeting cultural sites is a WAR CRIME;
-Whether kicking or screaming, end of US malign presence in West Asia has begun.
Javad Zarif (@JZarif) January 5, 2020
The president’s remarks were also torched by officials at Human Rights Watch (HRW), a leading international rights group, which warned that Trump was threatening “war crimes” by insinuating that cultural sites could be targeted.
President Trump should publicly reverse his threats against Irans cultural property and make clear that he will not authorize nor order war crimes, acting Washington director at Human Rights Watch, Andrea Prasow, said in a statement. The US Defense Department should publicly reaffirm its commitment to abide by the laws of war and comply only with lawful military orders.