Iranian officials as well as political figures and observers in the United States have reacted to President Donald Trump's reference to targets with "cultural importance" in Iran.
Trump had threatened in a January 4 tweet that the U.S. will target "52 Iranian sites … some at a very high level and important to Iran and the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, will be hit very fast and very hard."
The tweet rallied many Iranians at home and abroad, even staunch critics of the Tehran regime against President Trump's comment and created a controversy in the United States as political analysts of different political affiliations criticized the President for his controversial remarks.
In Iran Foreign Minister Zarif reminded that "Targeting cultural sites is a war crime," and opined that "Whether kicking or screaming, end of US malign presence in West Asia has begun."
He wrote in another angry tweet: Those masquerading as diplomats and those who shamelessly sat to identify Iranian cultural & civilian targets should not even bother to open a law dictionary."
In another reaction from Iran, Commander-in-Chief of the Iranian Army Abdolrhaim Mousavi referred to the figure 52 used by Trump to remind the number of U.S. diplomats that were taken hostage in Iran in 1979, said the real figures will be revealed "in a probable conflict," meaning that in a possible military confrontation Iran will hit more U.S. targets.
Mousavi said that by writing the controversial post, Trump wanted to overshadow the killing of Qods Force Commander Qassem Soleimani.
Iran's Communication Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi called Trump "a terrorist in suits" and likened him to characters such as Hitler and Genghis Khan who "hated culture."
In the United States, Mark Dubowitz, the CEO of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, reminded in a tweet that "words matter." He also wrote that I wish the president and the administration would take greater care to distinguish between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the country of Iran, between the regime in Iran and the people of Iran. Words matter."
Barbara Slavin, Director of the Future of Iran Initiative at the Atlantic Council, wrote Trump's "tweet about destroying Iran's ancient heritage is beyond the pale."
Atlantic Council fellow Holly Dagres posted pictures of some of Iranian cultural sites she says Trump was referring to.
Washington Post Jason Rezaian posted a picture of his favorite Iranian cultural site in Isfahan.
Johns Hopkins Academic and author Narges Bajoghli wrote that Trump Rallied "nearly all Iranians, whether they support regime or not, with this tweet."
Professor Michael McFaul wrote that the united states should not do what the Taleban and ISIS did to cultural sites in the Middle East.
Meanwhile, the Middle east Eye wrote that "Trump's remarks appear to be a response to an Iranian general [Gholamali Abouhamzeh] who said earlier this week that his country has 35 US targets within its reach."