Iran condemns Trump as ‘terrorist in a suit’ after attack threat
Iran condemned Donald Trump on Sunday as a “terrorist in a suit” after the U.S. president threatened to hit 52 Iranian sites hard if Tehran attacks Americans or U.S. assets in retaliation for the killing of military commander Qassem Soleimani.
Soleimani, Iran’s pre-eminent military commander, was killed on Friday in a U.S. drone strike on his convoy at Baghdad airport, an attack that took long-running hostilities between Washington and Tehran into uncharted territory and raised the specter of wider conflict in the Middle East.
“Like ISIS, Like Hitler, Like Genghis! They all hate cultures. Trump is a terrorist in a suit. He will learn history very soon that NOBODY can defeat ‘the Great Iranian Nation & Culture’,” Information and Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi tweeted.
Soleimani was the architect of Tehran’s overseas clandestine and military operations as head of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei promised on Friday that Iran would seek harsh revenge for his death.
Trump responded to that and other strong words from Tehran with a series of tweets on Saturday, saying Iran “is talking very boldly about targeting certain USA assets”.
The United States has “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”, he said.
The 52 targets represented the 52 Americans held hostage in Iran after being seized at the U.S. Embassy in 1979 during the country’s Islamic Revolution, Trump said.
The two countries have no diplomatic relations and on Sunday, Iran summoned the Swiss envoy representing U.S. interests in Tehran to protest at “Trump’s hostile remarks”, according to Iranian state television.
European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell urged Iran’s foreign minister by phone on Sunday to work to de-escalate the situation and invited him to Brussels to discuss ways of preserving world powers’ 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.
It was Trump’s withdrawal of the United States from the deal in 2018 and reimposition of sanctions on Iran that touched off a new spiral of tensions after a brief thaw following the accord.
Iran will decide on Sunday about its next step to further roll back its commitments to the nuclear deal, Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi was quoted as saying.
“Tonight, there will be a very important meeting to decide about our next nuclear step and the implementation of the deal … considering the recent threats (by America) it should be underlined that in politics, all developments and threats are linked to each other,” state news agency IRNA quoted him as saying.
IRAQI LAWMAKERS WANT U.S. FORCES OUTIn Iraq, many people including opponents of Soleimani have expressed anger at Washington for killing him and Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis on Iraqi soil and potentially dragging their country into another war.
Lawmakers planned a special parliamentary session on Sunday to push for a vote on a resolution requiring the government to ask Washington to withdraw U.S. troops from the country.
“There is no need for the presence of American forces after defeating Daesh (Islamic State). We have our own armed forces which are capable of protecting the country,” said Ammar al-Shibli, a member of parliament’s legal committee.
Despite decades of enmity between Iran and the United States, Iran-backed militia and U.S. troops fought side by side during Iraq’s 2014-2017 war against Islamic State militants.
The militia were incorporated into government forces under the umbrella of the Popular Mobilization Forces led by Muhandis. Some 5,000 U.S. troops remain in Iraq, most in an advisory role.