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Trump Threatens To Bomb Dozens Of ‘Iranian Culture’ Sites, A War Crime If Carried Out


Trump Threatens To Bomb Dozens Of ‘Iranian Culture’ Sites, A War Crime If Carried Out

President Donald Trump on Saturday warned Iran that a strike on “any Americans” or “American assets” would result in the US hitting 52 targets — including “Iranian culture” sites, an action that could amount to a war crime if carried out.

Trump warned that the United States has prepared a list of 52 Iranian sites and is prepared to strike “very fast and very hard” if Tehran retaliates for the killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani this week.

“Iran has been nothing but problems for many years,” Trump tweeted after spending a day at his golf club. “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!”

As noted by Business Insider, deliberately targeting cultural sites or cultural heritage sites could amount to a war crime if Trump made good on his threat to target “Iranian culture” sites.

Under international law, destroying cultural sites during armed conflict could be designated a war crime.

United Nations resolution 2347 condemns “the unlawful destruction of cultural heritage, including the destruction of religious sites and artifacts, and the looting and smuggling of cultural property from archaeological sites, museums, libraries, archives, and other sites, notably by terrorist groups.”

Protocol I of the Geneva Conventions states that it is prohibited to “commit any acts of hostility directed against the historic monuments, works of art or places of worship which constitute the cultural or spiritual heritage of peoples…to use such objects in support of the military effort…[and] to make such objects the object of reprisals.”

Business Insider adds:

In 2016, judges at the International Criminal Court issued a nine-year sentence to a radical Islamist who had destroyed shrines in Timbuktu, Mali, in 2012. This marked the court’s first prosecution of the destruction of cultural heritage as a war crime, The New York Times reported at the time.

The US Department of Defense Law of War Manual also touches on these matters, discussing the “protection of cultural property” at length. 

Trump’s tweet came a day after he ordered the assassination of Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s top military leader, in a drone strike in Baghdad on January 3. Iran has vowed to retaliate, with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday stating that the US had committed a “grave mistake.”

“This is a war crime. Threatening to target and kill innocent families, women and children — which is what you’re doing by targeting cultural sites — does not make you a ‘tough guy.’ It does not make you ‘strategic.’ It makes you a monster,” Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted in response to the president’s tweet.

Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut also weighed in on Trump’s threat, calling it a “moment we all feared” in a tweet.

“An unstable President in way over his head, panicking, with all his experienced advisers having quit, and only the sycophantic amateurs remaining. Assassinating foreign leaders, announcing plans to bomb civilians. A nightmare,” he wrote.


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