President Donald Trump is warning Iran of “a very heavy price” if the Middle Eastern nation carries out any sneak attacks on U.S. troops.
Trump issued the following tweet at 1:05 p.m. on Wednesday:
The president did not offer any more specific details as to the nature of the attacks, nor why the U.S. was suspicious of any alleged Iranian plans.
Shortly before 2 p.m., Bloomberg reported the president was meeting with CEOs of oil companies to discuss potential tariffs on Saudi Arabian oil. It is unknown whether Trump’s threat was related to that issue, however.
The Iranian-based Tasnim News Agency also reported on Trump’s tweet, and accused the president of stepping up its military operations in neighboring Iraq and pave the way for a new Iraqi prime minister.
"The United States may use its terrorists and mercenaries to wreak havoc in Iraq, as well as leverage it in the political process," said Iraqi parliamentarian Mohammad al-Baldawi in a March 13 interview with al-Maulama news agency. "The United States is trying to divert the path of the political process, especially as it is not in the best interests of Iraq and the region."
About 5,200 American troops are based in Iraq, where they mainly train Iraqi forces and help to combat Islamic State militants.
Earlier this year, American forces carried out a drone strike in Iraq that killed Iranian revolutionary Gen. Qassem Soleimani. That strike led to several days of heightened tension between the White House and the Iranian government, which launched an airstrike on a military base in Iraq that housed several American troops.
More than 50 people were killed and hundreds more injured when a stampede broke out during Soleimani’s funeral procession, days later.
Iran’s attack was the nation’s most direct assault on America since the 1979 seizing of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.
Trump has said Soleimani was responsible for “some of the absolutely worst atrocities” against civilians. After the U.S. airstrike, Trump said Soleimani was planning attacks against more American targets, but “we stopped him.”
"By removing Soleimani, we are sending a powerful message to terrorists,” Trump said. “As we continue to evaluate options in response to Iranian aggression the U.S. will immediately impose additional punishing sanctions on the Iranian regime."
The killing of Soleimani — a national hero to many in Iran — and strikes by Tehran came as tensions had been rising steadily across the Mideast after Trump’s decision to unilaterally withdraw America from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers.
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