In a 10-minute White House speech on Wednesday, President President Donald Trump said Tehran “appears to be standing down” after its missile attack on U.S. targets in Iraq. Trump vowed to keep up the pressure on Iran with “punishing” new sanctions on top of the heavy economic restraints already in place, but didn’t suggest the U.S. would be taking any additional military action in response. “Iran appears to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties concerned and a very good thing for the world,” Trump said. “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.”
Flanked by several top officials including Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Trump also announced “additional punishing economic sanctions” on the Iranian regime that will “remain until Iran changes its behavior.” He also said he planned to request help from NATO, an alliance he has frequently criticized. “I am going to ask NATO to become much more involved in the Middle East process,” he said without elaborating.
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. and coalition forces in retaliation for the killing of a top general.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif said Wednesday that his country did not “seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression.”
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