(CNN)– President Donald Trump said Saturday evening the United States has “targeted 52 Iranian sites” for attack should the country strike “any Americans, or American assets.” The string of tweets come after the White House formally notified Congress on Saturday of the US operation that killed Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani on Thursday.
“We have … targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran” and “if Iran strikes any Americans, or American assets… Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD,” Trump wrote in a series of tweets.
Trump’s comments come following the administration warning members of Congress that Iran is expected to retaliate against the US “within weeks” for the strike, even as they failed to convince some that the operation was merited due to an imminent threat against American lives.There are intense discussions taking place inside US military and intelligence agencies to assess whether Iran might be preparing some type of retaliatory strikes in the next few days or wait for some time, a US official with direct knowledge of the situation told CNN.
The Department of Homeland Security also issued a warning on Saturday of the potential for Iranian attacks, including the potential for cyber attacks.Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf issued a new National Terrorism Advisory System bulletin in the wake of the drone strike that details the attack and potential Iranian threat, including previous plots against US infrastructure and cyber targets.”Iran maintains a robust cyber program and can execute cyber attacks against the United States,” reads the bulletin, which expires January 18.
Trump also threatened Iran on Tuesday, when protestors attacked the US embassy in Baghdad.”Iran will be held fully responsible for lives lost, or damage incurred, at any of our facilities,” Trump tweeted from Florida.
“They will pay a very BIG PRICE! This is not a Warning, it is a Threat.”And later Tuesday, while speaking with reporters as he entered a New Year’s Eve gala at Mar-a-Lago, the President said he doesn’t want war but that if it comes to conflict, Iran wouldn’t last long.”I don’t think that would be a good idea for Iran,” Trump said, adding later that a potential conflict “would go very quickly.”