Iranian President Hassan Rouhani pointed to the downing of an Iranian airliner in a Monday post in response to President Trump’s weekend threat that referenced the Iranian hostage crisis as tensions between the two sides reached a boiling point last week over the U.S. killing a top Iranian general in a drone strike.
Rouhani called attention on Twitter to the 290 people killed when a U.S. Navy cruiser shot down a civilian plane in 1988 after Trump said the U.S. has targeted 52 sites to strike in Iran for the 52 U.S. citizens taken hostage by Iran in 1979.
Those who refer to the number 52 should also remember the number 290. #IR655
Never threaten the Iranian nation.
— Hassan Rouhani (@HassanRouhani) January 6, 2020
The Iranian president was referring to the incident when Iran Air Flight 655 was shot down over the Persian Gulf.
The exchange of threats between the leaders comes after Trump approved the strike that killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani. Iran reacted by promising by retaliation against the U.S., prompting Trump to announce the U.S. has planned to attack 52 sites, including some “important to Iran & the Iranian culture” if Iran retaliates.
Relations between Tehran and Washington have been increasingly fraught over Iran’s support of militia forces in Iraq and Syria, some of which attacked the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad last week.