President Trump addressed the nation Wednesday morning following ballistic missile strikes by Iran Tuesday targeting two Iraqi bases where U.S. and coalition troops are stationed. No American or Iraqi lives were lost in the attack, Trump announced, and Iran appears to be “standing down.” Trump also announced that the U.S. will “immediately” impose new sanctions on Iran.
“As long as I am president of the United States, Iran will never be allowed to have a nuclear weapon,” Trump began.
“I am pleased to inform you, the American people should be extremely grateful and happy: No Americans were harmed in last night’s attack by the Iranian regime,” he continued. “We suffered no casualties, all of our soldiers are safe, and only minimal damage was sustained at our military bases.”
“Our great American forces are prepared for anything,” he underscored.
“Iran appears to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties concerned, and a very good thing for the world,” said the president.
“No American or Iraqi lives were lost because of the precautions taken, the dispersal of forces, and an early warning system that worked very well,” he said. “I salute the incredible skill and courage of America’s men and women in uniform.”
“For far too long, all the way back to 1979, to be exact, nations have tolerated Iran’s destructive and destabilizing behavior in the Middle East. Those days are over,” Trump declared. “Iran has been the leading state sponsor of terrorism, and their pursuit of nuclear weapons threatens the civilized world. We will never let that happen.”
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) January 8, 2020
“Last week, we took decisive action to stop a ruthless terrorist from threatening American lives,” Trump explained in the address. “At my direction the United States Military eliminated the world’s top terrorist, Qassem Soleimani. As the head of the Quds Force, Soleimani was personally responsible for some of the absolutely worst atrocities. He trained terrorist armies, including Hezbollah, launching terrorist strikes against civilian targets. He fueled bloody civil wars all across the region. He viciously wounded and murdered thousands of U.S. troops, including the planting of roadside bombs that maim and dismember their victims. Soleimani directed the recent attacks on U.S. personnel in Iraq that badly wounded four service members and killed one American, and he orchestrated the violent assault on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. In recent days, he was planning new attacks on American targets, but we stopped him.”
The public address follows Trump’s statement late Tuesday night announcing that early casualty and damage reports indicated that no American military personnel were injured in the strikes.
As Trump stated in his remarks Wednesday, Iran has signaled that it hopes to de-escalate the situation, Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif issuing a statement late Tuesday stating that Iran does “not seek escalation or war” and suggesting that the missile attack on the two Iraqi bases was its “proportionate” response to the U.S. killing Iran’s top military leader, General Qassem Soleimani.
“Iran took & concluded proportionate measures in self-defense under Article 51 of UN Charter targeting base from which cowardly armed attack against our citizens & senior officials were launched,” Zarif tweeted after the attack Tuesday night. “We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression.”
A statement posted on social media later by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, however, suggested that Iran will seek other ways than further immediate military operations to get its revenge for Soleimani’s death. The U.S. was “slapped last night, but such military actions are not enough,” Khameini tweeted early Wednesday. “The corruptive presence of the US in the region of West Asia must be stopped.”