US to hit Iran if attacked, Iran describes attack threat as 'war crime'
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Jan. 5 that his country would hit Iran with "brand new beautiful equipment" if Iran targeted U.S. bases or American nationals in the wake of the killing of a senior Iranian general by an American airstrike.
"The United States just spent Two Trillion Dollars on Military Equipment. We are the biggest and by far the BEST in the World! If Iran attacks an American Base, or any American, we will be sending some of that brand new beautiful equipment their way...and without hesitation!" Trump said on Twitter.
In separate comments on Twitter, Trump also "strongly advised" Iran not to attack the U.S. as the country would "hit back".
"They attacked us, & we hit back. If they attack again, which I would strongly advise them not to do, we will hit them harder than they have ever been hit before!"
On Jan. 4, Trump threatened to strike 52 Iranian targets in the event of any attacks on U.S. citizens or assets.
He said Tehran was "talking very boldly about targeting certain USA assets as revenge" for the killing of Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps' elite Quds Force, adding that the general was responsible for the deaths of an American and hundreds of Iranian protesters.
Meanwhile, Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has described Trump's threat to attack dozens of Iranian sites as a "war crime" amid rising tensions in the wake of the killing of a senior Iranian general by an American airstrike.
"Targeting cultural sites is a WAR CRIME," Zarif said on Twitter on Jan. 5, shortly after Trump threatened to strike 52 Iranian sites in the event of any attacks on U.S. citizens of assets.
"Whether kicking or screaming, end of U.S. malign presence in West Asia has begun," Zarif said.
Soleimani's death marked a dramatic escalation in tensions between the U.S. and Iran, which have often been at a fever pitch since President Donald Trump chose in 2018 to unilaterally withdraw Washington from a 2015 nuclear pact world powers struck with Tehran.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who gave Soleimani the country's highest honor last year, vowed "severe retaliation" in response to his killing.
Following the death of an American contractor in rocket attacks on a U.S. base in Iraq, Washington carried out a series of strikes that led to the deaths of at least 25 fighters from the Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah militia group.
The strikes were the first major attack by the U.S. on an Iran-linked group since the withdrawal of troops from Iraq in 2011.
The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad was then attacked by a large crowd of protesters Tuesday, leading to a two-day standoff between U.S. forces and protesters.
The Pentagon accused Soleimani of plotting the embassy attack and planning to carry out additional attacks on U.S. diplomats and service members in Iraq and the region.