Trump Doubles Down On Threat to Destroy Iranian Cultural SitesChris Menahan
Jan. 06, 2020
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President Donald Trump on Sunday doubled down on his threat to destroy sites "important to Iran and Iranian culture" if Iran retaliates over the assassination of General Qassem Soleimani.
"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 site? It doesn't work that way," Trump told the press on Air Force one according to New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman.
Trump, who in the past has said he wants to leave the Middle East entirely but is only staying there for Israel, said Sunday that the US will not leave Iraq unless they "pay us back" for an expensive air base we built up to permanently occupy the region.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared to try and walk back Trump's threat to hit "cultural" sites earlier in the day by insisting that "every target that we strike will be a lawful target."
The threat seems to have backfired with the Iraqi parliament voting to move forward with expelling U.S. forces from their county entirely.
The turnout for Soleimani's funeral was quite large.
Including in Iraq:
Trump late Sunday threatened to put "very big" sanctions on Iraq if they go through with their plan to expel US troops.
While Trump and Pompeo have claimed repeatedly they don't want to "start a war," they've been sending thousands upon thousands of troops to the Middle East over the past several months.
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