TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif responded to US President Donald Trump’s recent military threats against Iran, saying any targeting of cultural sites would constitute a war crime.

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“Those masquerading as diplomats and those who shamelessly sat to identify Iranian cultural & civilian targets should not even bother to open a law dictionary. Jus cogens refers to peremptory norms of international law, i.e. international red lines. That is, a big(ly) ‘no no’,” Zarif tweeted on Sunday.

It came after Trump warned Iran that a strike on “any Americans” or “American assets” in retaliation for the assassination of the IRGC Quds Force commander, General Qassem Soleimani, would result in the US targeting 52 sites — including “Iranian culture” sites.

But deliberately targeting cultural sites or cultural heritage sites could amount to a war crime under international law.

Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also excoriated the president, tweeting, “This is a war crime. Threatening to target and kill innocent families, women and children — which is what you’re doing by targeting cultural sites — does not make you a ‘tough guy.’ It does not make you ‘strategic.’ It makes you a monster.”

General Soleimani, the deputy head of Iraq’s Hashd al-Sha’abi, and a number of their entourage were killed in a strike by American drones near Baghdad International Airport in the early hours of Friday.

The White House and the Pentagon confirmed the assassination of General Soleimani in Iraq, saying the attack was carried out at the direction of Trump.

In a message on Friday morning, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei warned that harsh revenge awaits the criminals behind the martyrdom of General Soleimani.