In a televised statement Wednesday, President Trump addressed Iran’s attack on two military bases in Iraq and announced that no U.S. or Iraqi personnel were killed and that Iran “appears to be standing down.” The announcement sent stocks soaring, both the Nasdaq Composite and the S&P 500 reaching all-time highs, while the Dow Jones jumped over 250 points.
“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,” President Trump told the nation Wednesday morning following the Tuesday night attacks by Iran (video of address below). “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,” said the president, adding later that no lives were lost “because of the precautions taken, the dispersal of forces, and an early warning system that worked very well.”
After launching the missile strikes, which Iran declared a retaliation for the Trump-ordered airstrike that took out Iran’s top military leader, General Qassem Soleimani, Iran has indicated that it wants to de-escalate, a point that Trump stressed in his statement. “Iran appears to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties concerned, and a very good thing for the world,” he said.
As reported by CNBC, the stock market responded with a “sigh of relief” to Trump’s announcement. “Stocks rose sharply on Wednesday after President Donald Trump spoke about an attack by Iran on an Iraqi airbase that houses American troops, which had led to a massive sell-off in overnight trading,” CNBC reported Wednesday. “The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 255 points, or 0.9%. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 1% and hit an all-time high. The S&P 500 climbed 0.8% and hit a record high as well.”
In his statement Wednesday morning, President Trump made clear that his administration will not allow Iran to continue to carry out its “destructive and destabilizing behavior” in the region, saying “those days are over,” but also indicated that he does not intend to escalate the situation through further military action, instead announcing new economic sanctions on Iran.
As Trump referenced, Iran has signaled that it hopes to de-escalate, 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 the extent of its “proportionate” response.
“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.”
In his televised statement, Trump also took time to defend his decision to order the strike that took out Soleimani, head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization responsible for killing hundreds of Americans during the Iraq War.
“Last week, we took decisive action to stop a ruthless terrorist from threatening American lives,” Trump explained. “At my direction the United States Military eliminated the world’s top terrorist, Qassem Soleimani. As the heads 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 White House (@WhiteHouse) January 8, 2020