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'Terrorist in a suit': Iran's information minister strikes back after Trump's Twitter threats

'Terrorist in a suit': Iran's information minister strikes back after Trump's Twitter threats
The Iranian information minister issued a toughly worded response to US President Donald Trump after he posted a threatening tweet about “targeting" dozens of sites across Iran.

"Trump is a 'terrorist in a suit'. He will learn history very soon that NOBODY can defeat 'the Great Iranian Nation & Culture,'" Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi tweeted on Sunday, while also comparing the US president to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), Adolf Hitler and Mongolian conqueror Genghis Khan.

The minister was responding to an earlier tweet by Trump, in which he warned that the US has "targeted 52 Iranian sites," including those important to "the Iranian culture," that will be hit if Tehran attacks American citizens or assets.

Iran's army chief, Major General Abdolrahim Mousavi, rebuffed the warning, however, saying it is "unlikely that the US would have what it takes to carry out its threat."

Meanwhile, Tehran summoned the Swiss envoy to the Islamic Republic to protest Trump's hostile remarks. Such aggressive language is "completely unacceptable and violates international law," the Iranian Foreign Ministry said. Swiss diplomats act as intermediaries between Tehran and Washington, because the countries cut formal ties in 1980.

Tensions between the US and Iran have escalated dramatically in recent weeks. On December 27, dozens of rockets hit K-1 Air Base in Iraq, killing an American civilian contractor and wounding several servicemen. Washington blamed Iran-backed Shia group Kataib Hezbollah for the attack, and conducted airstrikes on its sites in Iraq and Syria.

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In response to the raids, the group's members and supporters staged a large protest outside the US embassy in Baghdad, which ended with the protesters breaking into the compound and partially setting it on fire.

On Friday morning, a US drone strike killed the chief of Iran's Quds Force – an elite unit tasked with operations abroad – Major General Qassem Soleimani. The attack also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of the Iran-backed Shia militia, the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF).

Tehran has harshly condemned the raid, while the US claims that Soleimani's death prevented several major terrorist attacks against American nationals. The Islamic Republic’s envoy to the United Nations has asked the UN Security Council to condemn the “horrific assassination” of the Quds Force leader.

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