As tensions rise with Iran, President Donald Trump vowed this week once again the he would never allow the Islamic republic to obtain nuclear weapons.
On Sunday, the president spoke on and off the record with reporters aboard Air Force One regarding the regional threat to the Middle East and U.S. interests from Iran.
“[Iran is] 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 site?” Trump said. “It doesn’t work that way.”
After being asked by a reporter about potential retaliation by Iran, Trump said: “If it happens, it happens. If they do anything, there will be major retaliation.”
In a Jan. 6 tweet, Trump wrote that Iran will never be allowed to have a nuclear weapon.
The president’s vow comes on the heels of the death of Iranian regime’s top military official, Qassem Soleimani, who was killed by a missile from a drone on Trump’s order.
He ordered the strike following repeated attacks in recent months on bases hosting U.S. troops in Iraq by Iranian-backed Shiite terror groups.
Late last month, one such attack killed a U.S. defense contractor and injured four U.S. troops and two Iraqi Security Forces members. That attack was followed by U.S. airstrikes against Iranian-backed groups.
In turn, those groups besieged the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. The following day, Soleimani was reportedly killed, along with a number of other top Iranian military officials.
Trump’s pledge also follows one by Iran, which said it would no longer abide by a 2015 nuclear agreement signed with the Obama administration, though Trump exited that deal last year after Iran formally breached it by announcing they had begun to increase uranium enrichment above a previously agreed purity limit.