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10 Jan, 2020 16:26

US acting ‘like ISIS’ threatening to destroy Iran’s cultural sites - FM Zarif

US acting ‘like ISIS’ threatening to destroy Iran’s cultural sites - FM Zarif

The US was behaving like terrorists when President Donald Trump threatened to target Iranian cultural sites if Tehran retaliated for the killing of its top general Qassem Soleimani, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has said.

In a speech directed to the United Nations Security Council on Thursday, Zarif said Trump’s threat could be compared to the Islamic State's destruction of cultural sites during its reign of terror in the region, Iran’s PressTV reported.

The US "seeks to emulate the war crimes of Daesh, menacing the cultural heritage of the millennia-old civilization of Iran," he said. His remarks were delivered by Iran's UN Ambassador Majid Takht-Ravanchi after Washington refused to issue a visa for Zarif to attend the meeting himself — a violation of its obligations as the host of the UN headquarters.

In a tweet last Saturday, Trump said the US had identified 52 sites to attack if Tehran responded to the killing of Soleimani. Some of the sites on the list, he said, are “very important” to “Iranian culture.”

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The threat sparked international outrage and a statement from UNESCO, which warned the US that it is party to treaties which prohibit the targeting of cultural sites during times of armed conflict. ISIS militants destroyed numerous mosques, churches, temples and monuments on their rampage across Iraq and Syria, including parts of the ancient ruins at Palmyra.

In the speech, Zarif also condemned the US killing of Soleimani as a "dastardly targeted assassination" and said that Iran's response in targeting US military bases in Iraq was "measured and proportionate."

He slammed the US for its "defiance of international norms and law" and stated that unilateralism was coming to an end. "The world is at a crossroads. With the end of monopolies on power, one unhinged regime is frantically clamoring to turn back time," he said.

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