Trump Doubles Down on Threat to Iranian Cultural Sites

President Trump Arrives Back To White House From Palm Beach, Florida

Speaking with reporters aboard Air Force One, President Donald Trump appeared to reiterate his threat against Iranian cultural sites should the country retaliate for the killing of one of their top military and intelligence officials.

"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," Trump told reporters. "It doesn’t work that way."

Trump was responding to a question about the backlash to a series of tweets he sent on Saturday, in which he appeared to threatened dozens of important Iranian cultural sites, "at a very high level & important to Iran and the Iranian culture."

 

The targeting and destruction of a country's important cultural sites is against Protocol I of the Geneva Convention and is largely considered a war crime across the world. The section dictates that destroying "historic monuments, works of art or places of worship which constitute the cultural or spiritual heritage of peoples," and prohibits a country from making the sites the "object of reprisals."

In a letter sent to her colleagues on Sunday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced the House would soon vote on a war powers resolution that would limit President Trump's military actions.

"Last week, the Trump administration conducted a provocative and disproportionate military airstrike targeting high-level Iranian military officials," Pelosi wrote. "This action endangered our service members, diplomats and others by risking a serious escalation of tensions with Iran."

Pelosi wrote the bill would be similar to one introduced by Senator Tim K aine in the Senate, and that it would reassert Congress's "long-established oversight responsibilities by mandating that if no further Congressional action is taken, the Administration’s military hostilities with regard to Iran cease within 30 days."

Trump also told reporters that despite a vote by Iraq's Parliament to expel U.S. troops from the region, military personnel would not leave unless Iraq paid for an airbase that was established that.

"We have a very extraordinarily expensive airbase that’s there. It cost billions of dollars to build. Long before my time," Trump said. "We’re not leaving unless they pay us back for it."

If Iraq forced the U.S. military to leave the country, Trump told reporters that the U.S. would place sanctions on Iraq "like they've never seen before ever. It'll make Iranian sanctions look somewhat tame."

The Ambassador to Iraq, Andrew Tueller, and Iraq's Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi, are scheduled to meet on Monday to discuss the U.S.'s role in the country moving forward, NBC News reported, citing two officials familiar with the matter. The prime minister is expected to tell the ambassador U.S. troops will have to leave the country and will ask for a timeline.

Photo: Getty Images

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