WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump backed off a possibility Tuesday to center of attention on Iranian cultural websites if Tehran retaliates for a drone strike that killed its top military frequent last week.

All via an Oval Space of enterprise meeting with Greek Top Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Trump said the administration is “alleged to be very careful with [Iran’s] cultural heritage.”

“And what, if that’s what the law is, I preserve to obey the law,” he said. “Nonetheless mediate of it: They execute our of us, they blow up our of us, and then we must be very delicate with their cultural institutions. Nonetheless I’m OK with it.”

Trump ordered the drone strike that killed Gen. Qasem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s Quds Force, last week after a chain of escalating confrontations with Tehran and its proxy forces in the distance.

Trump threatened to center of attention on Iranian cultural websites after Iran vowed to retaliate for Soleimani’s death. In a tweet Sunday, he said the United States focused 52 websites, “some at a with out a doubt excessive degree & crucial to Iran & the Iranian culture.”

The president repeated the possibility Sunday on Air Force One, asserting, “They’re allowed to execute our of us, they’re allowed to torture and maim our of us … and we’re no longer allowed to contact their cultural region? It doesn’t work that formula.”

The 1954 Hague Conference for the Safety of Cultural Property in the Tournament of Armed Battle makes it a warfare crime to center of attention on cultural websites.

In Iran, there are two dozen UNESCO World Heritage Websites, 22 of them cultural ones. The websites characterize non secular, financial, architectural and social achievements and historic previous all via Iran.

Even as he backed off the prospect of focusing on cultural websites, Trump reiterated a possibility of a right response if Iran retaliates over Soleimani’s death.

“I will relate this: If Iran does one thing that they is just not doing, they’re going to be suffering the implications and with out a doubt strongly,” he said.

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Secretary of Notify Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Protection Mark Esper insisted the administration would observe world rules on armed struggle.

The administration accused Soleimani  in the death of heaps of of U.S. troops and said he deliberate an imminent attack towards U.S. forces.  Pompeo and Esper declined to account for on particulars of the possibility.

Pompeo and completely different Trump administration officials are scheduled to transient contributors of Congress on the Soleimani attack Wednesday.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell joined completely different Republicans in distancing himself from Trump’s threats to attack Iranian cultural websites, asserting it used to be “no longer acceptable.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., one in every of the president’s closest allies, said the basis of focusing on such websites “undercuts” the U.S. mission and would create “extra considerations.”

“We’re no longer at warfare with the culture of the Iranian of us,” Graham said. “The cultural websites, non secular websites are no longer fair targets under the rule of thumb of warfare.”

Graham said he conveyed that seek to the president Monday.

Contributing: Deirdre Shesgreen, Christal Hayes

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