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6 Jan, 2020 20:00

‘Never threaten the Iranian nation’: Rouhani rebuffs Trump’s warning that 52 Iranian targets may be hit

‘Never threaten the Iranian nation’: Rouhani rebuffs Trump’s warning that 52 Iranian targets may be hit

Iran’s president has reminded Donald Trump of the 290 Iranians who died when the US shot down their plane in 1988, after the US president threatened to hit 52 targets in Iran – the same number of American hostages taken in 1979.

“Those who refer to the number 52 should also remember the number 290,” Hassan Rouhani wrote on Twitter. “Never threaten the Iranian nation.”

The US guided missile cruiser USS Vincennes shot down Iran Air Flight 655 with 290 crew and passengers on board over the Strait of Hormuz in July 1988. Washington said the jet didn’t respond to warnings and was identified as an Iranian warplane because of that.

Back then, Tehran blasted the US for its criminal negligence, insisting that the Airbus A300 transmitted the signal which allowed it to be identified as a civilian aircraft. The Americans never admitted guilt or formally apologized to Tehran for the tragedy. However, they paid almost $62 million in damages to the relatives of the victims almost a decade later.

Also on rt.com Iran holds all the cards in coming Middle East conflict with US, unless Trump is ready to drop a tactical NUKE

The number 52 in Trump’s tweet wasn’t pulled out of a hat either. It represents the number of diplomats who were taken hostage by revolutionary students at the US Embassy in Tehran in 1979. The Americans were held for 444 days, but were eventually released after negotiations.

The US president warned that sites “at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture” will be hit in order to discourage Iran from retaliating for the assassination of the head of its elite Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani.

The killing of Soleimani in a US drone strike in Iraq last week has put the two nations on the brink of war. Millions across Iran took to the streets on Sunday to take part in the commander’s funeral, shedding tears and shouting anti-American slogans.

Also on rt.com Tide of people, anti-US chants, & sorrow as Tehran mourns death of General Soleimani & Iraqi militia commander (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)

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