Iran hits back at Trump threat to ‘end Iran’
Published : Monday, 20 May, 2019 at 9:04 PM Count : 276
Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif has hit back at US president Donald Trump’s “genocidal taunts” after a strongly worded warning from Trump that Tehran should not think of attacking the US.
“Goaded by #B_Team,” Zarif wrote on Twitter, in an apparent reference to Trump advisers such as John Bolton, “@realdonaldTrump hopes to achieve what Alexander, Genghis & other aggressors failed to do. Iranians have stood tall for millennia while aggressors all gone. #EconomicTerrorism & genocidal taunts won’t ‘end Iran’.”
With tensions rising, Mr Trump tweeted on Sunday: "If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran."
Zarif said the president should look at history. "Iranians have stood tall for millennia while aggressors all gone... Try respect - it works!" BBC reports.
The US has deployed additional warships and planes to the Gulf in recent days.
But Mr Trump's tweet marked a shift in tone after recent attempts by him to downplay the possibility of a military conflict with Iran. When asked by reporters on Thursday if the US was going to war, he said: "I hope not."
His warning to Iran on Sunday was issued hours after a rocket was fired into the heavily fortified Green Zone in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, and hit a building about 0.5km (0.3 miles) from the US embassy.
The US recently evacuated non-emergency staff from the mission because of what it called a "serious" threat reportedly linked to Iran-backed forces in Iraq.
What is behind the escalation?
Tensions began rising earlier this month, when the US ended exemptions from sanctions for countries still buying from Iran. The decision was intended to bring Iran's oil exports to zero, denying the government its main source of revenue.
Trump reinstated the sanctions last year after abandoning a landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers that he wants to renegotiate.
Days later, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said his country was suspending several commitments under the deal and threatened to step up uranium enrichment if European countries did not act to protect its oil and banking industries from the effects of the US sanctions with two months.