It can be stated without fear of great rebuke that Donald Trump tends to get a bit verbose online. His Twitter account has been accused of thousands of falsehoods, exaggerations, put-downs, insults, and whatever other disparagements you can conjure.
This is, in many ways, what Trump was elected for: To be the one to shatter the status quo. To arrive in DC to boos and jeers, only to soak it up like a sponge, and then spit it all back at the end of this tenure by saying “Did I or did I not make America great again?”.
So, when Trump threatened via tweet to target Iran’s cultural heritage sites with military action, many found the verbiage offensive. Some even believe that it’s illegal.
The targeting of cultural properties by the U.S. is indeed not allowed. The U.S. is a signatory to the 1954 Hague Convention, which requires “refraining from any act of hostility” directed against cultural property.
The convention covers “movable or immovable property of great importance to the cultural heritage of every people, such as monuments of architecture, art or history, whether religious or secular; archaeological sites; groups of buildings which, as a whole, are of historical or artistic interest; works of art; manuscripts, books and other objects of artistic, historical or archaeological interest; as well as scientific collections and important collections of books or archives or of reproductions of the property defined above,” as well as buildings and centers whose main purpose is to house such items.
It also bars using a cultural site “for purposes which are likely to expose it to destruction or damage in the event of armed conflict.” That means signatory nations can’t use such sites to house soldiers or weapons with the goal of shielding them from attack.
Those living outside of the White House would have no luck guessing as to whether or not this threat has any basis in reality, but, in attempting to keep Iran in check, it’s the thought that counts.