President doubles down on threat to hit Iranian cultural sites

President doubles down on threat to hit Iranian cultural sites originally appeared on abcnews.go.com

President Donald on Tuesday doubled down on his threat to strike Iranian cultural sites, which could be a war crime, amid elevated tensions with Iran.

told reporters at the White House that while he likes to obey the law -- international conventions prohibit striking cultural sites -- he disagreed with the notion that the United States had treat Iran in a gentle manner after its allies attacked U.S. facilities in Iraq, according to a pool report by a reporter who was with the president Tuesday afternoon in the Oval Office.

MORE: warns cultural sites could be targeted if Iran retaliates for Soleimani strike

He warned that Iran would suffer severe consequences if the country retaliated for a U.S. airstrike that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the leader of Iran's elite Quds Force, according to the reporter.

PHOTO: President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump welcome Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Mareva Grabowski-Mitsotakis as they arrive at the White House, Jan. 7, 2020. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

PHOTO: President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump welcome Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Mareva Grabowski-Mitsotakis as they arrive at the White House, Jan. 7, 2020. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

PHOTO: President Donald and first lady Melania welcome Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Mareva Grabowski-Mitsotakis as they arrive at the White House, Jan. 7, 2020. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

MORE: Iranian foreign minister says US 'will pay' for its 'act of war'

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made the comments before a meeting in the Oval Office with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

that if Iran were to respond to Suleimani's death by attacking American assets, the United States had "targeted 52 Iranian sites... some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD."

MORE: World braces for 'dramatic escalation' in tensions after key Iranian general killed: Analysis

This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

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