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CNN: Defense Secretary Contradicts Trump On Targeting Cultural Sites

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper's comments follow the president's the day before, according to CNN.
Posted at 8:59 AM, Jan 07, 2020

Defense Secretary Mark Esper contradicted President Trump's claims that the U.S. would target Iranian cultural sites if retaliated against. That's according to CNN.

The media outlet reports that Esper said in an interview Monday, "We will follow the laws of armed conflict" when it comes to addressing tensions with Iran. When questioned whether that meant not targeting Iranian cultural sites, Esper replied, "That's the laws of armed conflict."

Esper's comments follow President Trump's comments aboard Air Force One Sunday, in which he said, "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 sites? It doesn't work that way."

Initially, President Trump tweeted threats Saturday that the U.S. had a list of 52 Iranian sites it could hit, "some at a very high level and important to Iran and Iranian culture." The tweet came in response to Iran's threats of retaliation against the U.S. for killing the country's Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani Friday.

President Trump's comments have sparked backlash, as experts say targeting cultural sites is considered prohibited and punishable under international law

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN