End of U.S. malign presence in West Asia has begun: Zarif

January 5, 2020 - 17:45

TEHRAN – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Sunday that end of the United States’ “malign presence” in West Asia has begun.

“Whether kicking or screaming, end of US malign presence in West Asia has begun,” Zarif said in a tweet.

Zarif also condemned U.S. President Donald Trump’s threats of targeting 52 Iranian sites, including cultural ones, reminding him that targeting cultural sites is an instance of “war crime”.

“Targeting cultural sites is a WAR CRIME,” Zarif said.

The new threats by Trump came after the United States assassinated Qassemi Soleimani, the commander of the IRGC Quds Force, near Baghdad Airport on Friday morning.
   
“Having committed grave breaches of int’l law in Friday’s cowardly assassinations, @realdonaldtrump threatens to commit again new breaches of JUS COGENS.”

Jus cogens refers to certain fundamental, overriding principles of international law. 

In another tweet, Zarif added, “Those masquerading as diplomats and those who shamelessly sat to identify Iranian cultural & civilian targets should not even bother to open a law dictionary.”

“A reminder to those hallucinating about emulating ISIS war crimes by targeting our cultural heritage: Through MILLENNIA of history, barbarians have come and ravaged our cities, razed our monuments and burnt our libraries. Where are they now?” Trump tweeted on Saturday, “....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’s threats came after Iranian authorities said they would take a hard revenge for assassination of Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani in the U.S. airstrikes in the Iraqi capital Baghdad on Friday morning.

Zarif said by threatening to target Iranian cultural sites, Zarif is trying to follow ISIS who destroyed cultural heritage sites in Syria. 

Zarif also reminded Trump and his lieutenants that during the course of history “barbarians” have ravaged Iranian cities, monuments and libraries but Iran is still “standing tall”. 

“A reminder to those hallucinating about emulating ISIS war crimes by targeting our cultural heritage: Through MILLENNIA of history, barbarians have come and ravaged our cities, razed our monuments and burnt our libraries. Where are they now?” Zarif wrote. 

He added, “We’re still here, & standing tall.”

Also writing on his Twitter account on Saturday, the Iranian chief diplomat compared U.S. Secretary of State to “an arrogant clown masquerading as a diplomat”.

Immediately after the assassination of General Soleimani, Pompeo wrote a tweet claiming that Iraqis were dancing that Soleimani has been assassinated. 

“An arrogant clown— masquerading as a diplomat— claimed people were dancing in the cities of Iraq. Today, hundreds of thousands of our proud Iraqi brothers and sisters offered him their response across their soil.”

Zarif posted photos of Iraqis participating massively in the funeral procession of General Soleimani in Baghdad, Najaf and Karbala on his Twitter account as evidence.

NA/PA

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