On Jan. 4 President Trump created an international uproar when he first suggested that Iranian cultural sites were legitimate military targets. “They’re allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people. And we’re not allowed to touch their cultural sites? It doesn’t work that way,” he told reporters on Air Force One the following day.
The response to those comments was surprisingly encouraging. Not only did preservationists, historians and international law experts express outrage – including the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s director and CEO calling such threats “abhorrent to the collective values of our society” — but there was significant criticism from across the political spectrum, including from some of the President’s strongest supporters. “We’re not at war with the culture of the Iranian people,” Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, said on Monday.