Trump: If Iran does anything, there will be 'major retaliation'

US President doubles down on cultural sites in Iran being appropriate sites for retaliation for Iranian action against US interests.

Elad Benari ,

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

US President Donald Trump on Sunday vowed “major retaliation” if Iran attacks US interests, and also doubled down on cultural sites in Iran being appropriate sites for retaliation.

“They’re allowed to kill our people. They’re allowed to torture and maim our people. they’re allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people. And we’re not allowed to touch their cultural site? It doesn’t work that way," he told reporters aboard Air Force One, according to The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman.

Asked about retaliation from Iran for the killing of Qassem Soleimani, Trump replied, “If it happens it happens. If they do anything there will be major retaliation."

The President was also asked about the possibility of the US being forced out of Iraq and threatened sanctions against Baghdad, adding that if troops did leave, Baghdad would have to pay Washington for the cost of the air base there.

“We have a very extraordinarily expensive air base that’s there. It cost billions of dollars to build, long before my time. We’re not leaving unless they pay us back for it,” he stressed.

Trump said that if Iraq asked US forces to leave and it was not done on a friendly basis, “we will charge them sanctions like they’ve never seen before ever. It’ll make Iranian sanctions look somewhat tame.”

Earlier on Sunday, Trump warned Iran on Twitter that the US will strike it in a “disproportionate manner” if it strikes any American person or target.

He also wrote that his tweets threatening Iran should serve as notification to Congress of a possible retaliation for Iranian actions against the US, a response to Democrats who have criticized him for ordering the air strike which killed Soleimani without seeking approval from Congress beforehand.

On Saturday night, Trump responded to the threats from Iran regarding revenge for the killing of Soleimani and wrote, "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. The USA wants no more threats!"