Trump threatens US will strike 52 Iranian cultural sites

RT – US President Donald Trump says the US military has identified 52 sites of importance to Iran and its culture, which its ready to strike if Tehran targets US citizens or assets to avenge the killing of its top general. 

Unleashing yet another dire warning to Iran, Trump appears to have responded to a recent statement by a senior commander within the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), who said earlier on Saturday that Iran had identified 35 vital US and Israeli targets in the region “a long time ago.”

“If Iran strikes any Americans, or American assets, we have… targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), 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,” Trump tweeted.

Trump did not specify which sites the Pentagon had placed on its hit list, saying only that some of the targets are “at a very high level.”

The threat comes as tensions between Washington and Tehran have reached the boiling point after a US drone strike near Baghdad on Thursday killed the leader of the IRGC’s Quds Force – a special unit tasked with operations abroad. Major General Qassem Soleimani, who Trump called Iran’s “terrorist leader,” was instrumental in the defeat of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) in Syria and Iraq.

The Trump administration’s move to assassinate Soleimani has drawn a mixed reaction in the US. Democratic lawmakers, as well as their Republican colleagues, were unaware of the operation. But while the GOP has largely rejoiced at the move, the Democrats have been crying foul, accusing Trump of single-handedly steering the US into a potential all-out war with Iran.

The White House formally notified Congress about the strike late Saturday – which, however, did not placate the Democrats, as it apparently shed little light on the circumstances behind Soleimani’s takedown.

In a statement on Saturday, House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi slammed the strike as “provocative, escalatory and disproportionate military engagement,” noting that the War Act Powers notice given to lawmakers “prompts serious and urgent questions about the timing, manner and justification” of the attack.

She also criticized what she called the “highly unusual” decision to classify the document “in its entirety,” saying that “the Congress and the American people are being left in the dark about our national security.”

She went on to urge Trump to provide “an immediate, comprehensive briefing of the full Congress on military engagement related to Iran and next steps under consideration.”