Washington (CNN)Secretary of Defense Mark Esper on Monday contradicted President Donald Trump by asserting the US would not target Iranian cultural sites amid rising tensions after a US strike killed Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani.
“We will follow the laws of armed conflict,” Esper told CNN Monday.
When pressed if that meant not targeting Iranian cultural sites, Esper replied, “That’s the laws of armed conflict.”
The comments come one day after Trump reiterated his threat to target Iranian cultural sites in a conversation with reporters aboard Air Force One.
“They’re allowed to kill our people, they’re allowed to torture and maim our people, they’re allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people, and we’re not allowed to touch their cultural sites? It doesn’t work that way,” Trump said, according to a pool report.