Conway defended Trump's threat to attack Iranian cultural sites even though such an attack could violate international law.
Senior White House adviser Kellyanne Conway claimed on Monday that Donald Trump's threat to attack 52 Iranian sites would resonate with "numerologists in Iran."
"I think the president's putting out the number 52 is significant for those numerologists in Iran who are listening to numbers," Conway told reporters, adding, "That's the number of hostages they took 40 years ago."
Over the weekend, Trump tweeted that "if Iran strikes any Americans, or American assets, we have targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago) some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture."
In fact, a total of 66 Americans were taken as hostages when the Iran hostage crisis began in 1979, with the number being reduced to 52 some weeks later.
Trump also defended his threats to reporters on Sunday aboard Air Force One.
"They're allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people. And we're not allowed to touch their cultural site? It doesn't work that way," he said.
The threat has come under widespread criticism as such an attack could violate the 1954 Hague Convention, which designates cultural sites as protected during times of war.
"Targeting cultural sites is a war crime under the 1954 Hague Convention for the protection of cultural sites," the Associated Press noted, pointing out that in 2017 the U.N. Security Council — which includes the United States — unanimously passed a resolution condemning the destruction of heritage sites.
"We are living in a world where the president of the biggest so-called superpower still doesn't know that attacking cultural sites is a war crime," Abbas Mousavi, a spokesman for the Iranian government, told reporters.
The Trump team tried to defuse the controversy.
"President Trump didn't say he'd go after a cultural site," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Fox News on Sunday, a comment which runs contrary to Trump's statement.
Conway attempted to further deflect criticism when she spoke to reporters Monday morning.
"Secretary Pompeo said yesterday that we will be within the law, and I think that Iran has many military, strategic military sites that you may cite are also cultural sites," she claimed.
Conway did not explain how numerology would absolve Trump of violating international law if cultural sites are attacked.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.