Pentagon contradicts Trump, says attacking Iran cultural sites would be war crime
MANILA, Philippines – US Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper on Monday, January 6, ruled out attacking Iranian cultural sites of no military value. This is in contrast to US President Donald Trump's earlier threat of striking beloved landmarks.
“We will follow the laws of armed conflict,” said Esper at a press conference, the New York Times reported. When pressed if that meant “no” because the laws of war prohibit targeting cultural sites, he replied, “That’s the laws of armed conflict.”
On Saturday, January 4, Trump announced that the US had identified 52 potential targets in Iran if it retaliates for the killing of Qasem Soleimani. Trump then wrote on Twitter that these targets included sites “very high level and important to Iran and the Iranian culture.” This caused an uproar among Iran and other countries.
“We’re not at war with the culture of the Iranian people,” Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a staunch Trump supporter, said on Monday. “We’re in a conflict with the theology, the ayatollah and his way of doing business.”
Iran boasts of 22 cultural sites on the World Heritage List by UNESCO, the United Nations cultural organization. These sites include the ruins of Persepolis, the remnants of the holy city of the Kingdom of Elam, and a series of Persian gardens that have their roots in the times of Cyrus the Great. – Rappler.com