President Donald Trump said Wednesday morning that Americans “should be extremely grateful and happy” there were no casualties and “minimal damage” reported after Iran retaliated against the U.S. by launching missiles at two military bases in Iraq on Tuesday night.
Speaking from the White House, the president said “all of our soldiers are safe” and that “Iran appears to be standing down.”
Tensions between the U.S. and Iran came to a head last week when Trump launched a surprise missile attack that killed one of Iran’s top military officials, Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, whom the American government regards as a terrorist responsible for violence across the Middle East.
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Soleimani “was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region,” according to the U.S. Department of Defense, and that he was plotting “imminent and sinister attacks” against U.S. diplomats and military personnel.
Soleimani was killed in an airstrike early Friday as he was leaving Baghdad International Airport.
Iranian leaders promised “revenge” following Soleimani’s death, elevating fears in the U.S. that Trump’s decision to kill Soleimani would lead to a larger military conflict.
All is well! Missiles launched from Iran at two military bases located in Iraq. Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far, so good! We have the most powerful and well equipped military anywhere in the world, by far! I will be making a statement tomorrow morning.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 8, 2020
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Trump said Wednesday that “Soleimani’s hands were drenched in both American and Iranian blood” and that he should have been dealt with years ago. The administrations of his predecessors George W. Bush and Barack Obama declined to attack Soleimani, believing it was too provocative a move, according to an Associated Press report.
On Wednesday, Trump adopted a more diplomatic tone than some of his recent statements on Iran, saying, “We must all work together toward making a deal with Iran that makes the world a safer and more peaceful place.”
U.S. government officials have been pressed in the days following the airstrike for the specific rationale that motivated them to act now, as some Democratic lawmakers have questioned the timing given that Trump will soon be tried for impeachment in the Senate.
The administration insists Soleimani was killed to prevent imminent violence.
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.
We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression.
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) January 8, 2020
Leaders from around the world, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, called for de-escalation in the Middle East following the U.S. airstrike last week.
Iran claimed responsibility for Tuesday night’s missile strike as retaliation for …read more