President Trump warned Iran in a series of tweets Saturday that if the country strikes any Americans or American assets in retaliation for the killing of Qassem Soleimani, the U.S. has chosen 52 Iranian sites to target.
“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,” Trump said.
The president’s comments came a day after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said “the U.S. remains committed to de-escalation” with Iran.
Trump, whose threats against Tehran on Saturday seemed to be a far cry from his claim immediately after the airstrike that he simply wanted to “stop a war,” also defended his decision to kill Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani. He said the top Iranian general “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.”
“He was already attacking our Embassy, and preparing for additional hits in other locations,” Trump wrote.
Hours after his first tweetstorm, he issued another taunt noting that the U.S. “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!”
The president has said Soleimani was preparing “imminent” attacks on American interests, and administration officials on Friday told lawmakers at a classified briefing that Iran had plans to kill “hundreds” of Americans, though they offered no details on these plots.
Critics of the move have largely agreed with the assessment that Soleimani was a a foe to the U.S. but have questioned the timing of the killing—ahead of Trump’s impeachment trial and amid his 2020 re-election campaign— and his decision to order the airstrike without congressional approval.