Donald Trump warns Iran of 'end' if Tehran attacks US interests

Updated: May 21, 2019, 08:55 IST | Agencies

Tensions between the US and Iran have been growing as the US has deployed a carrier strike group and B-52 bombers to the Gulf, citing Iranian "threats"

Donald Trump warns Iran of 'end' if Tehran attacks US interests
A member of the Iraqi federal police forces stands guard at a checkpoint in Baghdad amid rising tensions in the region. Pic/AFP

In his sternest direct threat to Tehran, US President Donald Trump has warned that a military confrontation with America would "be the official end of Iran." If Iran wants to fight, "that will be the official end of Iran," he said in a tweet on Sunday. "Never threaten the United States again!"

The terse tweet comes amid rising fears over a potential military confrontation between the two countries. Trump administration officials are debating recent intelligence regarding whether Iran or the militias it supports are possibly planning to attack US assets in the Gulf or whether it is acting defensively in an attempt to deter US action.

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

The US president's tweet marks a shift in tone after recent attempts from both sides to downplay the possibility of dangerous military conflict. Trump had vowed that he would not let Iran develop nuclear weapons but said he did not want a conflict. "I'm not somebody that wants to go into war, because war hurts economies, war kills people most importantly - by far most importantly," the US president said.

The frictions come after Iran suspended its commitments under the 2015 landmark international nuclear deal, and threatened to resume production of enriched uranium which is used to make reactor fuel and nuclear weapons. The deal aimed to cut sanctions on Iran in exchange for an end to its nuclear programme.

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Trump's 'genocidal taunts' won't work
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Monday the "genocidal taunts" of US President Donald Trump will not "end Iran", amid a spike in tensions between the two countries. "Iranians have stood tall for millennia while aggressors all gone. Economic terrorism and genocidal taunts won't 'end Iran'," Zarif wrote on Twitter.

"Never threaten an Iranian. Try respect - it works!" he added. The comments by Iran's top diplomat follow an ominous warning by Trump, who suggested the Islamic republic would be destroyed if it attacked US interests. Relations between Washington and Tehran plummeted a year ago when Trump pulled out of a landmark 2015 nuclear deal and later imposed tough sanctions.

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