Portuguese / Spanish / English

Middle East Near You

US ready to finish any war started with Iran says Defense Secretary

US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper makes a speech during the joint press conference with US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Joseph Dunford (not seen) at the Pentagon in Washington, United States on 28 August, 2019 [Yasin Öztürk/Anadolu Agency]
US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper at the Pentagon in Washington, US on 28 August 2019 [Yasin Öztürk/Anadolu Agency]

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Tuesday the United States wants to de-escalate tensions with Iran, but the country is ready to finish any war that could be started.

“We are not looking to start a war with Iran, but we are prepared to finish one,” he said. “What we’d like to see is the situation de-escalated.”

The US drone strike on Friday that killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani has sharply escalated tensions with Iran, raising fears of all-out conflict. Washington says it killed Soleimani in self-defense, aiming to disrupt his plans to attack US personnel and interests.

Esper defended the intelligence signaling an “imminent threat” from Soleimani that he and other senior US officials have cited to justify the strike, saying it was persuasive.

US has been seeking a war with Iran for decades [Cartoon by Carlos Latuff/Instagram]

The US has been seeking a war with Iran for decades [Cartoon by Carlos Latuff/Instagram]

“The threat was being orchestrated by Soleimani,” Esper said. “I think it was only a matter of days, certainly no more than weeks” before an attack.

READ: US denies military pullout from Iraq, letter was an ‘honest mistake’

Esper suggested on Monday that the US military would not violate the laws of armed conflict by striking Iranian cultural sites, a move threatened by US President Donald Trump.

Asked about the issue again on Tuesday, Esper said he was confident that Trump “will only give us legal orders.”

“We do not violate the laws of armed conflict,” Esper said.

Targeting cultural sites with military action is considered a war crime under international law, including a UN Security Council resolution supported by the Trump administration in 2017 and the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property.

Categories
Asia & AmericasInternational OrganisationsIranMiddle EastNewsUNUS
Show Comments
Show Comments