Trump's threat to destroy Iranian heritage would be a war crime | Sergio Beltrán-García

The US president’s Twitter warning to hit Iranian cultural sites ‘very fast and very hard’ must not be taken lightly – the world could lose these architectural treasures for ever

President Donald Trump’s new year message, posted on Twitter in the wake of the US killing of Qassem Suleimani, was unequivocal: “Let this serve as a WARNING that if Iran strikes any Americans, or American assets, we have targeted 52 Iranian sites … 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.”

There’s little room for doubt: the president is threatening to destroy cultural heritage, which constitutes a war crime according to several international laws that the US has both sponsored and signed. These include the 1949 Geneva Conventions and the 2017 United Nations Security Council resolution 2347, which “condemns the unlawful destruction of cultural heritage, including the destruction of religious sites and artefacts, and the looting and smuggling of cultural property from archaeological sites, museums, libraries, archives, and other sites, notably by terrorist groups”.

These are some of the #IranianCulturalSites that @realDonaldTrump threatened to destroy.

Persepolis. Of of the last standing massive archaeological complexes from ancient Persia. The Iranians and their cultural institutions have done a fantastic job in protecting it.

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