January 06, 2020

Defenders of History Take Aim at Trumps Threat to Strike Irans Cultural Sites
WASHINGTON -- More than 2,300 years ago, the Persian capital of Persepolis was burned by a foreign warrior in a fatal blow to the empire and its rich heritage. The ruins of the ancient city, in modern-day southwest Iran, could now be on President Donald Trump's target list of 52 sites he has threatened to attack as tensions escalated between Washington and Tehran.Trump did not identify which places the United States might strike, as he warned on Twitter that he would order -- 52 in all, one for each American who was held hostage for the duration of the Iranian Revolution takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979.But he said on Saturday that some of the sites were "very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture.""Those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD," he added. "The USA wants no more threats!"On Sunday, Trump maintained the right to "quickly & fully strike back, & perhaps in a disproportionate manner" should Iran strike any American person or target. Later that day aboard Air Force One, he told reporters flying with him back to Washington that "they're allowed to kill our people.""They're allowed to torture and maim our people," he added. "They're allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people. And we're not allowed to touch their cultural site? It doesn't work that way."Even before those comments, the Iranians had reacted with fury. Earlier Sunday, Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, shot back: "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."It was the latest salvo in the war of words that has threatened to spill over into military action since a U.S. military strike on Friday that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, Iran's top security and intelligence commander, while he was visiting Iraq. The Trump administration has said the strike was necessary to thwart Soleimani's plans to attack Americans in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East, although officials have not yet provided specific intelligence to back up that claim.Last week, pro-Iranian protesters rioted at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, trapping diplomats inside for two days and setting on fire some buildings on the compound's outer perimeter.In several interviews earlier Sunday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo avoided directly answering whether the United States would attack cultural sites in Iran. He said on ABC's "This Week" that the United States would "behave lawfully" and "behave inside the system."But the targeting of cultural sites is against international law, and critics denounced Trump for his statement."I think this is the president using puffery, and trying to sound tough in a way that just reveals his ignorance," said Scott R. Anderson, a former State Department lawyer during the Obama administration who is now a national security law expert at Columbia University and the Brookings Institution.Anderson, who was the legal adviser at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad in 2012 and 2013, said the Pentagon had long recognized that strikes should only include targets of what he described as military necessity."So you can't just start shooting anything you want as a hostage target, like a cultural site," Anderson, who is also advising Pete Buttigieg's Democratic presidential campaign but was not speaking on its behalf, said on Sunday in an interview.The United States is a signatory to a 1954 international agreement to protect cultural property in armed conflict. Violating it with attacks on Iran's historical sites would represent a huge turnabout. The United States was among the harshest critics of the Islamic State's destruction of antiquities in Mosul, Iraq, and Palmyra, Syria, as well as the Taliban's obliteration of the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan in 2001."The U.S. has taken a leadership role in the protection of antiquities from destruction and illicit trade, particularly in the Middle East," said Deborah Lehr, the chairwoman and founder of the Washington-based Antiquities Coalition. "It would be a shame to see that global goodwill disappear by the intentional targeting and the destruction of cultural sites."The International Criminal Court convicted an al-Qaida-linked extremist of war crimes in 2016 for destroying historic and religious artifacts in Mali. But the United States is not a party to the court, which is based in The Hague, the Netherlands.In 2018, the Trump administration withdrew the United States from UNESCO, the cultural organization of the U.N. that is known to travelers for its list of World Heritage sites.Beyond official condemnation from across the world, other signatories to the 1954 convention could refuse to be enlisted by the United States for military actions against Iran, Anderson said. That could include withholding intelligence or refusing to let U.S. forces prepare for attacks on Iranian interests from bases in allied nations."There are real practical costs to this," Anderson said.By Sunday, under the hashtag IranianCulturalSites, a Twitter campaign cropped up in the form of history buffs taking verbal aim at Trump's threat. Among the sites cited as irreplaceable treasures -- not just for Iran, but also for antiquities preservation globally -- was Persepolis, parts of which still stand.Its ruins were among the first three Iranian sites to be placed on the UNESCO list, in 1979. Built in 518 B.C., the city was the capital of the Achaemenid Empire. It was conquered and looted by Alexander the Great in 330 B.C. but remains "among the world's greatest archaeological sites" for its evidence of ancient architecture, urban planning and art, according to UNESCO.It is "of the last standing massive archaeological complexes from ancient Persia," tweeted one user, who identified himself as Sergio Beltran-Garcia and listed architecture as an interest. "The Iranians and their cultural institutions have done a fantastic job in protecting it."Even some of the people closest to those taken hostage by Iran appeared to disdain Trump's threat."Here's a thought, maybe ask ex-hostages if they want to each be assigned to represent a military target that could kill many civilians, supposedly in their honor," tweeted Sulome Anderson, a journalist who is the daughter of Terry Anderson, a former Associated Press bureau chief who was kidnapped by Iranian-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon in 1985 and held for six years.She signed her post, "Sincerely, Daughter of an American ex-hostage of an Iran-backed group."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company
Related Stories
Latest News
Top news around the world
Coronavirus Disease

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

Around the World

Celebrity News

> Latest News in Media

Watch It
Julia Fox defends viral ‘Uncut Gems’ interview moment: ‘I was stoned’ | Page Six Celebrity News
February 17, 2022
4m-p0_-ePd8
Alexia Echevarria pushed ‘RHOM’ producers to show more of son Frankie’s recovery | Page Six
February 17, 2022
E-wTaN9NfkI
Pete Davidson rejoins Instagram amid Kanye West drama | Page Six Celebrity News
February 17, 2022
SsC3dmsI6t4
Aaron Rodgers And Shailene Woodley Reportedly Break Up | TMZ LIVE
February 17, 2022
FoErdRE8Qe4
Chet Hanks Done Talking About Famous Parents, Becoming Personal Trainer | TMZ
February 16, 2022
5_UrULOkQ6o
Woman Stabbed at Foot Locker During Nike Shoe Release
February 16, 2022
TfuXMs1JdVg
Steph's Freaky Side, "Summer House" & "Love During Lockup"
February 17, 2022
9W_raO0zlA8
Tay or Nay, Offset's Sushi Anxiety & Nick on Monogamy
February 17, 2022
PauYHpJRA6o
Kim Kardashian & North West TWINNING in Matching Pajamas | E! News
February 17, 2022
b-_Oib6R108
Adam McKay - Hollywood Walk of Fame Ceremony
February 17, 2022
tYtzsHoOZzo
Tom Holland, Mark Wahlberg, and the Cast of 'Uncharted' Talk Most Challenging Stunts
February 15, 2022
d3ksX-SKi8c
Ryan Reynolds and Walker Scobell on ‘The Adam Project’, ‘Deadpool’, and Possible ‘Star Wars’ Role
February 16, 2022
5TxJsbJr9Dk
TV Schedule
Late Night Show
Watch the latest shows of U.S. top comedians

Sports

Latest sport results, news, videos, interviews and comments
Latest Events
04
May
CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Playoffs
Seattle Sounders - Pumas
04
May
USA: Major League Soccer
FC Cincinnati - Toronto FC
03
May
ENGLAND: Championship
Bournemouth - Nottingham Forest
02
May
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester United - Brentford
02
May
ENGLAND: Championship
Fulham - Luton
02
May
SPAIN: La Liga
Getafe - Real Betis
02
May
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Bayer Leverkusen - Eintracht Frankfurt
02
May
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Borussia Monchengladbach - RB Leipzig
02
May
ITALY: Serie A
Atalanta - Salernitana
01
May
ENGLAND: Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur - Leicester City
01
May
SPAIN: La Liga
Barcelona - Mallorca
01
May
ITALY: Serie A
Roma - Bologna
01
May
ENGLAND: Premier League
West Ham United - Arsenal
01
May
ENGLAND: Premier League
Everton - Chelsea
01
May
ITALY: Serie A
Udinese - Inter Milan
01
May
ITALY: Serie A
AC Milan - Fiorentina
01
May
ITALY: Serie A
Juventus - Venezia
01
May
SPAIN: La Liga
Rayo Vallecano - Real Sociedad
30
Apr
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Mainz - Bayern Munich
30
Apr
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Borussia Dortmund - Bochum
30
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Newcastle United - Liverpool
30
Apr
SPAIN: La Liga
Athletic Bilbao - Atletico Madrid
30
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Leeds - Manchester City
30
Apr
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Madrid - Espanyol
30
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Napoli - Sassuolo
28
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester United - Chelsea
27
Apr
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Semifinal
Liverpool - Villarreal
27
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Bologna - Inter Milan
26
Apr
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Semifinal
Manchester City - Real Madrid
25
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Sassuolo - Juventus
24
Apr
SPAIN: La Liga
Barcelona - Rayo Vallecano
24
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Lazio - AC Milan
24
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Liverpool - Everton
24
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Chelsea - West Ham United
24
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Empoli - Napoli
23
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Brentford - Tottenham Hotspur
Find us on Instagram
at @feedimo to stay up to date with the latest.
Featured Video You Might Like
zWJ3MxW_HWA L1eLanNeZKg i1XRgbyUtOo -g9Qziqbif8 0vmRhiLHE2U JFCZUoa6MYE UfN5PCF5EUo 2PV55f3-UAg W3y9zuI_F64 -7qCxIccihU pQ9gcOoH9R8 g5MRDEXRk4k
Copyright © 2020 Feedimo. All Rights Reserved.