Iranian Minister Calls Donald Trump A 'Terrorist In A Suit'

An Iranian politician has branded Donald Trump a "terrorist in a suit" after the U.S. president threatened to attack sites with cultural significance to Iran.

"Like ISIS, Like Hitler, Like Genghis! They all hate cultures. Trump is a 'terrorist in a suit,'" Iran's Information and Communications Technology Minister Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi tweeted on Sunday.

"He will learn history very soon that NOBODY can defeat 'the Great Iranian Nation & Culture,'" Jahromi added along with the hashtag "#HardRevenge."

Jahromi was responding to Trump's threat to strike 52 sites—including some which are "important to Iran & Iranian culture"—if Iran retaliates for the killing of top military commander Qassem Soleimani in a U.S. drone strike on Friday.

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".#HardRevenge#QasemSoleimani https://t.co/N2iQ5AMX7M

— MJ Azari Jahromi (@azarijahromi) January 5, 2020

A reminder to those hallucinating about emulating ISIS war crimes by targeting our cultural heritage:
Through MILLENNIA of history, barbarians have come and ravaged our cities, razed our monuments and burnt our libraries.

Where are they now?

We’re still here, & standing tall.

— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) January 5, 2020

Trump's threat to attack Iran's cultural sites also sparked a furious response from Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

"A reminder to those hallucinating about emulating ISIS war crimes by targeting our cultural heritage: Through MILLENNIA of history, barbarians have come and ravaged our cities, razed our monuments and burnt our libraries," he tweeted.

"Where are they now? We're still here, & standing tall."

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed "harsh revenge" for the death of Soleimani. However, any retaliation is unlikely to be carried out before the three days of mourning declared in Iran and Iraq are over, the Associated Press reported.

Trump took to Twitter to defend the killing of Soleimani, saying the U.S. had rid "the world of their terrorist leader who had just killed an American, & badly wounded many others."

The president also declared that the U.S. has already "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." He added that they would be "HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD."

The threat prompted many, including Democratic Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar, to argue that threatening cultural sites would constitute a "war crime" under international law.

"This is a war crime," Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter. "Threatening to target and kill innocent families, women and children - which is what you're doing by targeting cultural sites - does not make you a 'tough guy,'" she continued. "It does not make you 'strategic.' It makes you a monster."

Omar said: "The President of the United States is threatening to commit war crimes on Twitter. God help us all!"

Targeting cultural sites is a war crime under the 1954 Hague Convention. However, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross, the convention recognizes that cultural sites can be targeted if they have been turned into a "military objective."

Iran has two dozen UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including Persepolis and its ruins dating back to 518 BC at the foot of Kuh-e Rahmat (Mountain of Mercy).

Others include Golestan Palace in the heart of Tehran, the grand Masjed-e Jāme' in Isfahan and the historic city of Yazd, located close to the Spice and Silk Roads.

Iran protest
Iranians tear up a US flag during a demonstration in Tehran on January 3, 2020 following the killing of Iranian Revolutionary Guards Major General Qasem Soleimani in a US strike. Atta Kenare/AFP via Getty Images