US Defence Secretary Mark Esper said on Tuesday that the US doesn't want to start a war with Iran but had prepared to finish one. The US military wouldn't violate the laws of armed conflict by attacking Iranian cultural sites, he added. His statement comes amid the rising US-Iran tensions following Iranian General Qassem Soleimani's killing in a US strike.
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 added.
In reply, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Iran's missile attacks on US bases in Iraq were a slap on the face for the US. "Military action like this isn't sufficient. What's important is ending corrupting presence of America in the region," he added. Iran's attack came in retaliation for the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in a US strike.
Iran said it launched more than dozen missiles against U.S. targets on Wednesday in retaliation for the killing of Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani in a U.S. drone strike last week.