Iran has threatened to attack the White House in response to Donald Trump’s warning that any strike on American interests in the region will bring massive retaliation as Iranian leaders brand the president a ‘terrorist in a suit’.
‘We can attack the White House itself, we can respond to them on the American soil. We have the power, and God willing we will respond in an appropriate time,’ said Iranian MP Abolfazl Abutorabi, according to the Iranian Labour News Agency.
Abutorabi went on to say that ‘this is a declaration of war, which means if you hesitate you lose’.
‘When someone declares war do you want to respond to the bullets with flowers? They will shoot you in the head,’ he added.
Abutorabi’s threat was made during an open session of parliament in Tehran, Iran, on Sunday, and just days after Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani, the architect of Tehran’s overseas clandestine and military operations as head of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force, was killed on Friday in a US drone strike on his convoy at Baghdad airport.
Following massive funeral marches in Iraq, Soleimani’s body was flown to the city of Ahvaz in southwest Iran on Sunday.
Video from the scene shows a casket wrapped in an Iranian flag being unloaded from a plane as a military band plays and the crowd angrily chanted ‘Death to America’.
On Saturday, Revolutionary Guards commander Major General Hossein Salami promised ‘a strategic revenge which will definitely put an end to the US presence in the region’.
However, Trump threatened to hit 52 critical targets in Iran in retaliation if Tehran strikes any American interests in the region, upping the stakes after Iran said it had identified 35 targets for potential strikes and raised its red ‘flags of revenge’ over a key mosque.
‘Let this serve as a WARNING that if Iran strikes any Americans, or American assets, we have targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD. The USA wants no more threats!’ Trump tweeted on Saturday from Mar-a-Lago, after spending the day at his nearby golf course.
‘Iran is talking very boldly about targeting certain USA assets as revenge for our ridding the world of their terrorist leader who had just killed an American, & badly wounded many others, not to mention all of the people he had killed over his lifetime, including recently hundreds of Iranian protesters,’ Trump said.
‘He was already attacking our Embassy, and preparing for additional hits in other locations. Iran has been nothing but problems for many years,’ he continued.
Trump’s threat referenced the Iran hostage crisis of 1979-1981, in which 52 US diplomats and citizens were held hostage by student revolutionaries in Iran.
His threat to target sites important to ‘Iranian culture’ drew many accusations from critics that he was threatening to commit ‘war crimes’.
A White House spokesman did not immediately respond to an inquiry about the list of US targets from DailyMail.com.
‘They attacked us, & we hit back,’ Trump said of the drone strike on Soleimani, which followed assaults on the US embassy in Baghdad by pro-Iranian militiamen.
‘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!’ he said.
‘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!’ he said.
On Sunday, Information and Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi tweeted: ‘Like ISIS, Like Hitler, Like Genghis! They all hate cultures. Trump is a terrorist in a suit. He will learn history very soon that NOBODY can defeat ”the Great Iranian Nation & Culture”.’
In a CNN interview, Hossein Dehghan, the military adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, said: ‘The response for sure will be military and against military sites.’
‘Let me tell you one thing: Our leadership has officially announced that we have never been seeking war and we will not be seeking war,’ Dehghan said.
‘It was America that has started the war. Therefore, they should accept appropriate reactions to their actions. The only thing that can end this period of war is for the Americans to receive a blow that is equal to the blow they have inflicted. Afterward they should not seek a new cycle,’ he added.
Dehghan was referring to Khamenei’s statement in May when the supreme leader said Tehran does not seek war with the US.
At the time, Khamenei said: ‘There won’t be any war. The Iranian nation has chosen the path of resistance. We don’t seek a war, and they don’t either. They know it´s not in their interests.’
The US military confirmed two rocket attacks near American facilities in Iraq on Saturday, saying that no US personnel or allies were injured. The attacks took place near the Green Zone in Baghdad and Balad Air Base in northern Iraq.
Earlier on Saturday, an Iranian official said at least 35 US targets, including warships and Tel Aviv, have been identified for retaliatory strikes.
Iranian General Gholamali Abuhamzeh, a Revolutionary Guards commander in the southern province of Kerman, said vital American targets in the region were identified a ‘long time ago’, including ships in the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz and Tel Aviv.
‘The Strait of Hormuz is a vital point for the West and a large number of American destroyers and warships cross there … some 35 US targets in the region as well as Tel Aviv are within our reach,’ he said, according to Reuters.
Hezbollah, an Islamic political and militant group, has also warned Iraqi soldiers to stay at least 1,000 meters away from US military bases from Sunday onwards.
Vowing vengeance for Soleimani’s death, Iranians raised the blood-red ‘flags of revenge’ over the minarets at the revered Jamkaran Mosque in the holy city of Qom on Saturday.
A retaliation attack from Iran could be seen ‘within weeks’ either at home or abroad, a senior congressional staffer told Time.
The staffer said: ‘There is no indication that there is going to be a de-escalation in the near future. The only question is how bad is the retaliation going to be and where and what is it going to hit.’
Abuhamzeh’s concerning remarks that Iran has previously identified targets seems to confirm the State Department’s reasoning behind the airstrike on Friday.
The State Department said: ‘General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region.’
‘The United States will continue to take all necessary action to protect our people and our interests wherever they are around the world.’
Meanwhile, one of the Iranian-backed militia Kataeb Hezbollah, or Hezbollah Brigades, warned Iraqi soldiers to vacate any premises near US bases housing American soldiers in a thinly-veiled threat.
‘The leaders of the security forces should protect their fighters and not allow them to become human shields to the occupying Crusaders,’ the statement said, regarding coalition bases.
In a press conference after Friday’s airstrike, Trump said Soleimani was plotting attacks against Americans in a press conference after the airstrike.
‘Soleimani was plotting imminent and sinister attacks on American diplomats and military personnel, but we caught him in the act and terminated him,’ the president revealed in a press conference.
Although the specific locations of the 35 targets have not been disclosed, the US Embassy in Baghdad and the military base could be potential targets.
This comes off the heels of the slaying of an American contractor who was killed in a rocket attack a week ago while working at an Iraqi military base in the country’s northern region.
The US retaliated by launching an attack on five Popular Mobilization militia bases in Iraq and Syria, killing more than 24 people and inciting a nearly two-day siege of the United States Embassy in Baghdad.
Following Soleimani’s death, several Iranian officials and the 62-year-old’s supporters vowed revenge on the US.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the US made a ‘grave mistake’ in killing Soleimani and will supposedly suffer consequences for years to come.
While visiting Soleimani’s family on Saturday, Rouhani called the airstrike an ‘unforgettable crime’.
‘The Americans did not realize what a grave mistake they have made. They will suffer the consequences of such criminal measure not only today, but also throughout the years to come,’ Rouhani said.
‘This crime committed by the US will go down in history as one of their unforgettable crimes against the Iranian nation.’
Ayatolla Ali Khamenei visited the family on Friday and echoed similar sentiments against the Trump administration.
‘Hajj Qasem Soleimani had been exposed to martyrdom repeatedly, but in performing his duty & fighting for the cause of God, he didn’t fear anyone or anything. He was martyred by the most villainous people, the US govt, & their pride in this crime is a distinguishing feature of him,’ he wrote on Saturday.
He also warned Iran’s ‘enemies’ that the Jihad of Resistance’ supposed victory will be ‘bitter’.
He wrote: ‘All friends—& enemies—know that Jihad of Resistance will continue with more motivation & definite victory awaits the fighters on this blessed path. The loss of our dear General is bitter. The continuing fight & ultimate victory will be more bitter for the murderers & criminals.’
During funeral processions for Soleimani, his supporters chanted ‘No, No, America,’ ‘Death to America, death to Israel’ and ‘America is the Great Satan.’
Mohammed Fadl, a mourner dressed in black, said the funeral is an expression of loyalty to the slain leaders.
‘It is a painful strike, but it will not shake us,’ he said.
At least two rockets were reported to have fired near the US Embassy in Baghdad and three were fired at Balad Airbase housing US troops, about 50 miles north of the city.
After the rockets landed, security around the embassy’s perimeter, located in the the green zone were rammed up in response.
Of the three missiles that fired from the airbase, two Katyusha rockets fell inside the base and it was not immediately clear how many US troops are being housed inside.
A number of rockets also landed in the Al-Jadiriya neighborhood, according to the Iraq Army, although it is not clear if that was the intended target.
There have been no reports of injuries and it is not clear who fired the rockets.
In another unsettling event, Iran has unfurled a red flag, signifying revenge, on top of the Jamkaran Mosque, in Qom.
The US has since ordered all citizens to leave Iraq and closed their Baghdad based embassy, where Iranian militiamen and supporters staged violent protests outside the building for two days. Additionally, NATO has suspended training Iraqi security and armed forces in the region.
Spokesman Dylan White said: ‘The safety of our personnel in Iraq is paramount.’
Several US cities have also begun taking precautions against any potential attacks by bolstering security.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said the NYPD will take steps to protect ‘certain locations’ from ‘from any attempt by Iran or its terrorist allies to retaliate against America’.
‘No one has to be reminded that New York City is the number one terror target in the United States. We’re taking escalation in the Middle East seriously — and I have absolute faith in the NYPD to protect this city and keep every New Yorker safe,’ he said in a tweet.
Gov Andrew Cuomo added that the Department of Public Service has been in contact with all electric, telephone, water and natural gas utilities in New York in an effort to increase vigilance for cybersecurity and physical security.
The Los Angeles Police Department and Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington, DC, have also announced mounting security.
The LAPD is in talks with law enforcement at all levels and say there is not credible threat as of now.
Bowser released a statement saying Metropolitan Police and Homeland Security were working to monitor evolving events.
‘While there are no immediate threats to the District of Columbia, we remain vigilant and [Metropolitan Police Department] & [DC Emergency Management and Homeland Security] will remain in close contact with regional and federal partners to monitor evolving events — both at home and abroad,’ she said.
Source » dailymail