Pentagon Rules Out Striking Iranian Cultural Sites

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US Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper sought to douse an international outcry on Monday by ruling out military attacks on cultural sites in Iran if the conflict with Tehran escalates further, despite President Trump’s threat to destroy some of the country’s treasured icons.

The New York Times reports that Esper acknowledged that striking cultural sites with no military value would be a war crime, putting him at odds with the president, who insisted such places would be legitimate targets.

“We will follow the laws of armed conflict,” Mr. Esper said at a news briefing at the Pentagon when asked if cultural sites would be targeted as the president had suggested over the weekend.

Mr. Trump’s threats generated condemnation at home and abroad while deeply discomfiting American military leaders who have made a career of upholding the laws of war.

New York Times

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