WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump said Wednesday Iran appeared to be “standing down” after missile strikes on US troop bases in Iraq that resulted in no American or Iraqi deaths.
“No Americans were harmed in last night’s attack by the Iranian regime. 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 said in an address to the nation from the White House.
“Iran appears to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties concerned and a very good thing for the world. No American or Iraqi lives were lost.”
As he spoke, the U.S. president was flanked by Vice President Mike Pence, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and military officers.
Trump said the United States would immediately be imposing “additional punishing sanctions” on Iran but made no mention of military retaliation to the missile attacks — seen by experts as a measured first response by Iran to the killing of General Qasem Soleimani in an American drone strike in Baghdad.
Launched for the first time by forces inside Iran instead of a proxy, the missile attack marked a new turn in the intensifying confrontation between Washington and Tehran and sent world oil prices soaring.
Trump touted economic achievements that he said had made the US less dependent on Middle Eastern oil, changing Washington’s “strategic priorities” in the region.
“Today I am going to ask NATO to become much more involved in the Middle East process,” he said.
He also called for world powers to follow his lead in withdrawing last May from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.