In a sharp response to US President Donald Trump’s threat to attack 52 sites in Iran, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said that targeting the country's cultural sites will be a "war crime". Terming the death of General Qassem Soleimani as “cowardly assassination”, Zarif said that the US has once again committed to violating the fundamental principle of international law.
Iran’s Foreign Minister claimed that the latest action of Washington in Iran is the beginning of the end of US presence in the Middle East. Zarif lashed out at US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and President Donald Trump saying they should not even bother to refer law dictionary.
-Having committed grave breaches of int'l law in Friday's cowardly assassinations, @realdonaldtrump threatens to commit again new breaches of JUS COGENS;— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) January 5, 2020
-Targeting cultural sites is a WAR CRIME;
-Whether kicking or screaming, end of US malign presence in West Asia has begun.
Those masquerading as diplomats and those who shamelessly sat to identify Iranian cultural & civilian targets should not even bother to open a law dictionary.— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) January 5, 2020
Jus cogens refers to peremptory norms of international law, i.e. international red lines. That is, a big(ly) "no no".
Earlier, Trump had threatened Iran saying the US has identified 52 sites and will hit it harder if Tehran tries to carry out an attack on any American or its military base. Democrat leader Ilhan Omar lashed out at Trump’s statement and said that the US President is threatening, on Twitter, to commit war crimes. “God help us all!” tweeted Omar.
US Homeland Security updated its terror advisory saying an attack may come with little or no warning, adding that Iran and its partners have demonstrated the intent and capability to conduct operations in the United States. However, it maintained that it does not have information indicating a specific, credible threat to the Homeland.
Chad Wolf, the Acting Secretary of US Homeland Security, pointed at the threats publicly stated by Iranian leadership and affiliated extremist organizations. Wolf said that Iran prefers terrorist activities to retaliate and it has targeted United States interests through its partners like Hezbollah. Wolf also feared that “homegrown violent extremists” could launch individual attacks amid heightened tensions.