In a national address Wednesday, U.S. President Donald Trump responded
to Iranian missile attacks on two bases in Iraq by saying Americans
should be "extremely grateful and happy" that no U.S. troops were hurt.
Trump delivered his remarks in the grand foyer of the White House.
"We suffered no casualties, all of our soldiers are safe, and only minimal damage was sustained at our military bases," he said.
Trump added that Iran appeared to "stand down" after the attacks, which
were retaliation for a U.S. drone strike that killed Iranian commander
Qassem Soleimani last week. In his speech Wednesday, the president
called Soleimani a "ruthless terrorist" who should have been "taken out
"Our great American forces are prepared for anything," he said. "Iran
appears to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties
concerned and a very good thing for the world.
"For far too long -- all the way back to 1979, to be exact -- nations
have tolerated Iran's destructive and destabilizing behavior in the
Middle East and beyond. Those days are over. Iran has been the leading
sponsor of terrorism, and their pursuit of nuclear weapons threatens the
civilized world. We will never let that happen."
U.S. defense officials said more than a dozen Iranian ballistic missiles
were fired earlier Wednesday from inside Iran toward two U.S.
facilities in Erbil and al-Asad, Iraq, which housed U.S. and coalition
Hours before Trump's remarks, Iranian religious leader Ayatollah Ali
Khamenei warned the United States the missile strikes were merely a
"slap on the face" and blamed corruption in the Middle East on the
continued U.S. military presence.
"What is important about confrontation is that the military action as
such is not sufficient. What is important is that the seditious American
presence in the region must end," Khamenei said.
In his comments, Trump promised new sanctions for Tehran and framed the
military action against Soleimani as beneficial to the national
"We took decisive action to stop a ruthless terrorist from threatening
American lives," the president said. "At my direction, the United States
military eliminated the world's top terrorist, Qassem Soleimani. As the
head of the Quds Force, Soleimani was personally responsible for some
of the absolutely worst atrocities.
"As we continue to evaluate options in response to Iranian aggression,
the United States will immediately impose additional punishing economic
sanctions on the Iranian regime. These powerful sanctions will remain
until Iran changes its behavior."
Trump said he would ask NATO Wednesday to become more involved in the
Middle East and signaled to Iran that further provocation will bring
"U.S. Armed Forces are stronger than ever before. Our missiles are big,
powerful, accurate, lethal and fast," he said. "The fact that we have
this great military and equipment, however, does not mean we have to use
"We do not want to use it. American strength, both military and economic, is the best deterrent."
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