Iranian MP Abolfazl Abutorabi has reportedly threatened to attack the White House in response to a message from President Trump that promised severe consequences if the Islamic nation escalates hostilities with the U.S.
Abutorabi was responding to a question about how Iran should react to the death of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani during an American airstrike, The Independent reported.
“We can attack the White House itself, we can respond to them on the American soil. We have the power, and God willing we will respond in an appropriate time,” Abutorabi said according to the UK publication, which cited Iranian news agency ILNA.
This comes as President Trump vowed to hit Iran hard should the country retaliate against the U.S. for Soleimani’s death.
“Iran is talking very boldly about targeting certain USA assets as revenge for our ridding the world of their terrorist leader who had just killed an American, & badly wounded many others, not to mention all of the people he had killed over his lifetime, including recently hundreds of Iranian protesters,” Trump tweeted over the weekend.
The president continued: “He was already attacking our Embassy, and preparing for additional hits in other locations. Iran has been nothing but problems for many years.”
Abutorabi called Soleimani’s death “a declaration of war,” and that a swift, strong response was necessary.
“When someone declares war, do you want to respond to the bullets with flowers? They will shoot you in the head,” he said.
Following Soleimani’s death, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said “harsh retaliation is waiting for the criminals whose filthy hands spilled his blood.” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also promised to “take revenge for this heinous crime.”
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said Sunday that Soleimani’s death puts the entire region at the beginning of a “completely new phase.”
Speaking before thousands of supports at a rally in southern Beirut, Nasrallah called the killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani a “clear, blatant crime” that will transform the Middle East.
The Independent’s international correspondent, Borzou Daragahi, doubted the likelihood of an attack on U.S. soil, noting that Abutorabi was known for inflammatory language and that Iran does not necessarily have the military capabilities of striking the U.S. with missiles.
Over the weekend, President Trump issued a severe threat of his own, claiming that he has “52 Iranian sites” in mind as potential targets should Iran take any further action.
After the strike that killed Soleimani, the U.S.-led coalition forces in the region announced that they have put their training of Iraqi forces on hold for the time being, while remaining committed to working with the Iraqi people and government in combating ISIS.
“Repeated rocket attacks over the last two months by elements of Kata’ib Hezbollah have caused the death of Iraqi Security Forces personnel and a U.S. civilian. As a result we are now fully committed to protecting the Iraqi bases that host Coalition troops,” the statement said. “This has limited our capacity to conduct training with partners and to support their operations against Daesh and we have therefore paused these activities, subject to continuous review.”