President Donald Trump has issued an ominous warning to Iran, suggesting that if the Islamic republic attacks American interests, it will be destroyed. “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again,” Trump said in a tweet. Tensions between Washington and Tehran have been on the rise as the United States has deployed a carrier group and B-52 bombers to the Gulf over what it termed Iranian “threats.”
This account has been met with widespread skepticism outside the United States.
The White House has sent mixed signals in recent days, amid multiple US media reports of infighting in Trump’s cabinet over how hard to push Washington’s arch foe Iran.
The Trump administration has ordered non-essential diplomatic staff out of Iraq, citing threats from Iranian-backed Iraqi armed groups, and sent an aircraft carrier and heavy B-52 bombers to the region.
On Sunday, a Katyusha rocket was fired into Baghdad’s Green Zone housing Government offices and embassies including the US mission. It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack.
According to US media reports, Trump’s long-hawkish national security advisor John Bolton is pushing a hard line on Iran, but others in the administration are resisting.
Trump himself said recently that he has to “temper” Bolton. Iran-US relations hit a new low last year as US Trump pulled out of a 2015 nuclear deal and reimposed unilateral sanctions that had been lifted in exchange for Tehran scaling back its nuclear programme.