News, Culture & Society

Trump vows to stop Iran getting nuclear weapons

Iran has labelled Donald Trump’s threats to end the regime ‘genocidal’ in the latest escalation of the standoff in the Gulf.  

The Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif slammed the President for his Twitter outbursts on Monday, calling them ‘genocidal taunts which won’t end Iran’.

On Sunday afternoon Trump tweeted, saying: ‘If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!’ 

In a television interview later that day, he also vowed to stop Iran developing nuclear weapons in the latest escalation of the standoff in the Gulf.  

 

Trump said in an interview with Fox News on Sunday that he wouldn’t let Iran have nuclear weapons

An F/A-18E Super Hornet flies above the USS Abraham Lincoln in the Arabian Sea on Saturday

An F/A-18E Super Hornet flies above the USS Abraham Lincoln in the Arabian Sea on Saturday

Speaking in an interview with Fox News the President told Steve Hilton he was reluctant to start a war but said he ‘couldn’t let Iran have nuclear weapons’. 

‘I will not let Iran have nuclear weapons,’ he told Fox News host Steve Hilton. 

‘I don’t want to fight. But you do have situations like Iran, you can’t let them have nuclear weapons – you just can’t let that happen,’ he said. 

‘With all of everything that’s going on, and I’m not one that believes – you know, I’m not somebody that wants to go into war, because war hurts economies, war kills people most importantly – by far most importantly,’ he said. 

His remarks came in the wake of a rocket attack less than a mile from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, which appeared to have been carried out by Iran-backed Shiite militias, an Iraqi military spokesman said.  

Taking to Twitter, at just after 4pm ET, the president posted: ‘If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!’  

Trump's remarks came in the wake of a rocket attack less than a mile from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone, which appeared to have been carried out by Iran-backed Shiite militias, an Iraqi military spokesman said

Trump’s remarks came in the wake of a rocket attack less than a mile from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, which appeared to have been carried out by Iran-backed Shiite militias, an Iraqi military spokesman said

Taking to Twitter, at just after 4pm ET, the president posted: 'If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!'

Taking to Twitter, at just after 4pm ET, the president posted: ‘If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!’

Iran has missile capabilities to strike Israel and they claimed today, US warships in the Persian Gulf. Over the last decade they have expanded their 'axis of resistance' in the Middle East

Iran has missile capabilities to strike Israel and they claimed today, US warships in the Persian Gulf. Over the last decade they have expanded their ‘axis of resistance’ in the Middle East

Trump had seemed to soften his tone after the US recently sent warships and bombers to the region to counter an alleged, unexplained threat from Iran.

On Thursday, when asked if the US and Iran were heading towards armed conflict, he answered: ‘I hope not.’

The threats come after it emerged that Iran’s top general had called on their axis of resistance of thousands of battle-hardened jihadists throughout the Middle East to prepare if war with the US erupts. 

From Lebanon and Syria to Iraq, Yemen, and the Gaza Strip, Tehran’s influence has expanded in the past decade, forging deep and powerful ties with ruthless fighters.

On Thursday it was revealed General Qassem Suleimani had told allies in Iraq to ‘prepare for proxy war,’ as US warships stand on guard in the Persian Gulf.

And an official of the Revolutionary Guard boasted on Friday their arsenal of missiles could ‘easily reach [those] warships.’

US intelligence experts told the Guardian, General Suleimani rallied militias in Baghdad three weeks ago.

A source told the paper: ‘It wasn’t quite a call to arms, but it wasn’t far off.’ 

In reaction to the meeting, the U.S. decided to evacuate all non-essential diplomatic personnel from Iraq. While, on its military bases, the threat level was raised. 

Palestinian militants of the Islamic Jihad group take part in their military exercises in Deir el-Balah, the central Gaza Strip in December 2014

Palestinian militants of the Islamic Jihad group take part in their military exercises in Deir el-Balah, the central Gaza Strip in December 2014

Hezbollah fighters parade during the inauguration of a new cemetery for their fighters who died in fighting against Israel, in a southern suburb of Beirut in 2010

Hezbollah fighters parade during the inauguration of a new cemetery for their fighters who died in fighting against Israel, in a southern suburb of Beirut in 2010

The ominous manoeuvring comes against a backdrop of soaring tensions in recent weeks with a war of words between Washington and Tehran.

There have been accusations of sabotage attacks on oil tankers off the coast of the UAE, drone attacks on Saudi pipelines claimed by Yemeni rebels allied to Iran and, crucially, the dispatch of U.S. warships and bombers to the region.

Last week, officials said they had detected signs of Iranian preparations for potential attacks on U.S. forces and interests in the Middle East, but Washington has not publicly released any evidence to support claims of an increased Iranian threat.

General Suleimani’s cry to arms to the Iraqi militias is just a flavour of the havoc they can wreak with tens of thousands of jihadists loyal to Tehran throughout the Middle East.

At a mass rally in February in Beirut, a Hezbollah commander Hassan Nasrallah declared: ‘If America launches war on Iran, it will not be alone in the confrontation, because the fate of our region is tied to the Islamic Republic.’

Hezbollah is one of the most prominent members of the self-styled ‘axis of resistance,’ armed groups with tens of thousands of Shiite Muslim fighters beholden to Tehran.

The Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group transits the Suez Canal in Egypt on its way to the Persian Gulf last week amid mounting tensions with Iran

The Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group transits the Suez Canal in Egypt on its way to the Persian Gulf last week amid mounting tensions with Iran

An F/A-18E Super Hornet aircraft launches from the flight deck the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln in the Persian Gulf on May 10, as tensions mount with Tehran over President Donald Trump's sanctions

An F/A-18E Super Hornet aircraft launches from the flight deck the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln in the Persian Gulf on May 10, as tensions mount with Tehran over President Donald Trump’s sanctions

Members of the Palestinian Al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Jihad group, march with their rifles in December 2017

Members of the Palestinian Al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Jihad group, march with their rifles in December 2017

Hezbollah fighters stand near a four-wheel vehicle positioned at the site where clashes erupted between Hezbollah and al-Qaida-linked fighters in Wadi al-Kheil on the Lebanon-Syria border in July 2017

Hezbollah fighters stand near a four-wheel vehicle positioned at the site where clashes erupted between Hezbollah and al-Qaida-linked fighters in Wadi al-Kheil on the Lebanon-Syria border in July 2017

While Hezbollah strike fear into foes in Lebanon; the Iranians are backing Hamas and the Islamic Jihad group in the Gaza strip.

In Yemen, they are behind the Houthis in a vicious proxy war with the Saudis which has raged for four years.

And in Iraq they have established a network of control through a trio of militants: Asaib Ahl al-Haq, Kataeb Hezbollah and the Badr Organization.

Hezbollah, whose name means ‘Party of God,’ was established by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard during Lebanon’s civil war in the 1980s.

Today it is among the most effective armed groups in the region, extending Iran’s influence to Israel’s doorstep.

In a paper for the Brookings Institute earlier this year, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Jeffrey Feltman described the group as revolutionary Iran’s ‘most successful export’ and Tehran’s ‘multi-purpose tool.’

Hezbollah was formed to combat Israel following its invasion of Lebanon in 1982. It waged an 18-year guerrilla war against Israeli forces, eventually forcing them to withdraw from Lebanon in 2000. Six years later, it battled Israel to a bloody stalemate in a month-long war.

Today, the group has an arsenal of tens of thousands of rockets and missiles than can reach deep into Israel, as well as thousands of highly disciplined and battle-hardened fighters.

Hezbollah has fought alongside government forces in Syria for more than six years, gaining even more battlefield experience and expanding its reach.

Houthis, march during a gathering aimed at mobilizing more fighters into battlefronts to fight pro-government forces in several Yemeni cities in January 2017

Houthis, march during a gathering aimed at mobilizing more fighters into battlefronts to fight pro-government forces in several Yemeni cities in January 2017

Houthis, pose for a photo as they secure a road, as people take part in a march from Sanaa to the port city of Hodeidah, Yemen in April 2017

Houthis, pose for a photo as they secure a road, as people take part in a march from Sanaa to the port city of Hodeidah, Yemen in April 2017

At home, the group’s power exceeds that of the Lebanese armed forces, and along with its allies has more power than ever in the parliament and government.

Despite the rhetoric, Hezbollah says it is not seeking another war with Israel, and it is not likely to join in any regional confrontation – at least not in the early stages – unless provoked.

Hezbollah has lost hundreds of fighters in Syria, exacting a heavy toll on the Shiite community from which it draws most of its support.

In Yemen, Iran has backed the Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, who swept down from the north and captured the capital, Sanaa, in 2014.

A Saudi-led coalition entered the conflict on the side of the government the following year. The war has since killed tens of thousands of people and generated the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Saudi Arabia views the Houthis as an Iranian proxy, and along with Western nations and U.N. experts has accused Tehran of providing arms to the rebels, including the long-range missiles they have fired into Saudi Arabia.

Iran supports the rebels but denies arming them.

The Houthis have given up little ground since the coalition entered the war, and have targeted the Saudi capital, Riyadh, with long-range missiles.

Earlier this week they claimed a drone attack that shut down a major oil pipeline in Saudi Arabia, which responded with airstrikes on Yemen’s rebel-held capital that killed civilians.

Iraqi Shiite militia group Imam Ali Brigades chant slogans against the Islamic State group at the battlefield in Tikrit, 80 miles north of Baghdad in March 2015

Iraqi Shiite militia group Imam Ali Brigades chant slogans against the Islamic State group at the battlefield in Tikrit, 80 miles north of Baghdad in March 2015

Iran has trained, financed, and equipped Shiite militias in Iraq that battled U.S. forces in the years after the 2003 invasion and remobilized to battle the Islamic State group a decade later.

The groups include Asaib Ahl al-Haq, Kataeb Hezbollah and the Badr Organization, all three led by men with close ties to General Qassem Soleimani, the leader of Iran’s elite Quds Force and the architect of Tehran’s regional strategy.

The militias fall under the umbrella of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces, a collection of mostly Shiite militias that were incorporated into the country’s armed forces in 2016.

Together they number more than 140,000 fighters, and while they fall under the authority of Iraq’s prime minister, the PMF’s top brass are politically aligned with Iran.

U.S. forces and the PMF fought side-by-side against Islamic State militants after Iraq’s parliament invited the U.S. back into the country in 2014.

But now that the war is largely concluded, some militia leaders are calling on U.S. troops to leave again, threatening to expel them by force if necessary.

This week, the U.S. ordered all nonessential government staff to leave Iraq, amid unspecified threats in the region said to be linked to Iran.

In Palestine, Tehran has long supported militant groups, including Gaza’s Hamas rulers and particularly the smaller Islamic Jihad group.

Hamas fell out with Iran after the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings, losing millions of dollars in monthly assistance.

The group today is in a severe financial crisis; its employees and public servants in Gaza have not been paid full salaries in years.

Young Shiite volunteer militia members prepare to attack Islamic State fighters in Tikrit, north of Baghdad, Iraq in March 2015

Young Shiite volunteer militia members prepare to attack Islamic State fighters in Tikrit, north of Baghdad, Iraq in March 2015

Tehran is said to have continued its military support to Hamas’ armed wing, but the group appears to get most of its aid from Qatar, making it less likely that it would rally to Tehran’s side in a regional conflict.

Islamic Jihad, another Sunni militant group, is seen as much closer to Iran but still not as deeply intertwined as Hezbollah or other groups.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad launched hundreds of rockets from Gaza during a bout of fighting with Israel earlier this month.

Israel accused Islamic Jihad of triggering the violence, which was the worst since a 2014 war. The movement did not deny the Israeli accusations.   

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


Comments are closed.