Islamabad, Pakistan (The 9 News) – Iran’s rich and ancient cultural landscape has become a potential US military target. Trump’s threats cause tensions in Iranian cultural sites. At the same time, Washington and Tehran threaten threats and are taking significant steps toward a potential open conflict.
President Donald Trump replied Saturday evening that if Iran attacked any American assets to avenge the killing of a prominent Iranian general, the United States has 52 targets across the Islamic Republic that would “strike very quickly and very difficult.”
“Some of them are important to Iran and Iranian culture,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
If the United States bombed Iran directly, it could ignite this war and lead to violence at the regional level, which could lead to attracting other countries to global conflict.
Iran’s first traces of human history reach as many as 100,000 BC. Its historical monuments preserve the heritage of civilization that has retained its Persian identity throughout all foreign tides and sanctions and has woven into influences from Turkish, South Asian, and Arab cultures and the effects of Alexander the Great and newer Islam.
“Through millions of history, the barbarians came and destroyed our cities, destroyed our monuments, and burned our libraries,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in his response on Sunday. “Where are they now? We are still here, and we stand long.”
Trump’s threat raised questions about the legality of such an attack on the heritage of global significance.
Targeting cultural sites is a war crime under the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Sites. The UN Security Council unanimously passed a resolution in 2017, condemning the destruction of heritage sites. Attacks by the Islamic State and other armed factions in Syria and Iraq prompted the vote.
“I am sorry that we live in a world that is still the head of the largest superpower that you know attacking cultural sites is a war crime,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi told reporters in Tehran.
Communications Minister Muhammad Jawad Azari Jahromi compared Trump’s threats to hit the cultural sites of the Islamic State group, Adolf Hitler and Genghis Khan, and described the US president as a “terrorist in Hilla.”
Trump’s tweet caused Washington’s concern. A U.S. national security official said that Trump’s threat to target Iranian cultural sites has angered many in his administration, and called for others in his government, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, to be made clear. The official, who has not been authorized to speak publicly on this issue, has described this necessary clarification to ensure that the US military does not intentionally commit war crimes.
Among the Iranians, pride in the country’s culture is free from the divisive and nationalist zeal that prevailed in the current policy that caused the chasm between hardliners in Tehran and Iranian expatriates in the West.
Tensions escalated sharply between Washington and Tehran after the targeted American killing early Friday in Iraq, General Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s powerful Quds Force. The US Department of Defense said it killed Soleimani because he was planning to attack American diplomats and service members in the Middle East.
Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has vowed “brutal revenge,” describing Soleimani as “the international face of resistance” against Western hegemony.
Zarif also wrote on Twitter Sunday that after “serious violations” in Soleimani’s murder, Trump is now threatening “war crime” to target cultural sites.
Long before the 1979 Islamic revolution, the Shiite theocracy was born in Iran, and the land known as Fars was the birthplace of towering Islamic figures such as the Sufi Rumi poet and philosopher Abu Hamid al-Ghazali. It is also home to the graves of great scholars, including Ibn Sina, also known as Ibn Sina, the father of modern medicine.
Iran has more than twenty UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the city of Persepolis, whose ancient ruins dating back to 518 B.C., the seventeenth-century Isfahan Mosque in a busy market, and Golestan Palace in the heart of Tehran, where Shah Shah crowned the rule of Iran Muhammad Reza Pahlavi in 1967.
Cultural sites in the country reflect the history of Iran: geological and archaeological sites date back several thousand years. In contrast, sites dating back 1,000 years reflect Iran’s contributions to the golden age of Islam. In Qom, the Fish School of Religious Sciences and the shrine of a Shiite saint, it’s infallible, attract Muslim pilgrims from all over the world, reinforcing Iran’s distinguished position among Shi’a clerics, religious scholars, and scholars.
Recently, some of the most famous cultural sites have become the nation’s challenge to the United States. For example, the famous Azadi Tower, or Freedom Tower, with its brilliant white marble arch, where hundreds of thousands gather in Tehran every year, chanting slogans against the United States to celebrate the anniversary of the 1979 revolution.
On Monday, the famous Masjid Mosque in Tehran will be used by mourners to frustrate the fallen Iranian leader. Soleimani’s body will be restored before his burial in Kerman city on Tuesday.
If culturally prominent sites are targeted, the Trump administration may claim it was used to store weapons secretly that could target U.S. interests and personnel in the region. In the past, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards deployed anti-aircraft HAWK missiles around the sprawling tomb complex of Rouhollah Khomeini, where the late Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic was buried. ISIS attacked the compound in 2017.