President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that Iran “appears to be standing down” after its missile attack on U.S. targets in Iraq and the president vowed to keep up the pressure on Tehran with “punishing” new economic sanctions.
Trump made the comments in an address to the nation Wednesday from the White House less than a day after Iran fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two Iraqi air bases housing U.S. forces in retaliation for the killing of a top general.
“Iran appears to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties concerned and a very good things for the world,” Trump said.
He added that “no American or Iraqi lives were lost” in the Iranian attacks, “because of the precautions taken, the dispersal of force and an early warning system that worked very well.”
Trump delivered his speech flanked by several top officials including Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Mark Esper.
Officials expect that later Wednesday, Trump will confer with allies as he continues to monitor the developments.
Washington and Tehran both confirmed that Iran was the source of the missiles launched overnight at military bases hosting U.S. and coalition forces. The extent of any causalities or damage was not immediately clear.
One of these was the Ain al-Asad air base, which is around 100 miles northwest of Baghdad and was visited by Trump in 2018. The Pentagon did not directly name the second base but said it was in or around Irbil, Iraq’s second largest city in the Kurdish-run north of the country.
There were no reports yet of casualties or damage at the two bases.
The attacks at 1:20 a.m. local time (5:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday) came after Iranian leaders had promised “revenge” and “harsh retaliation” for the death last week of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who the U.S. killed with a drone strike in Iraq.
The U.S. blames Soleimani, a high-profile commander of Iran’s secretive Quds Force, for a spate of rocket attacks in recent months, including one that killed a U.S. contractor in late December.