Trump Says Iran Appears to Be "Standing Down" After Strike

Donald Trump speaks from the White House on January 08, 2020 - Getty  H 2020
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Trump addressed the nation on Wednesday morning after Iran fired surface-to-surface missiles at two Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops.

President Donald Trump said Wednesday that Iran appears to be “standing down” and said no Americans or Iraqis were harmed in Iran's Tuesday ballistic missile strike on two Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops.

Speaking from the foyer of the White House (watch below), Trump announced that the U.S. will immediately place new sanctions on Iran “until Iran changes it’s behavior.” He defended his targeted killing last week of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran's elite Quds Force. He added that Americans should be “extremely grateful and happy” with the outcome.

Trump reiterated his position that “Iran will never be allowed to have a nuclear weapon" and called for new nuclear negotiations to replace the 2015 nuclear deal from which he withdrew the U.S.

Trump also announced he would ask NATO to become "much more involved in the Middle East process.”

On Tuesday night, Trump had insisted “All is well!” and tweeted that an assessment of casualties and damages was underway. The initial outlook, he said, was “So far, so good!”

The Iranian missiles came in retaliation for an American drone strike that killed top Iranian Gen. Soleimani. Trump and his advisers were under pressure to disclose more details about the intelligence that led to the U.S. strike.

Trump said Tuesday that his decision saved American lives and that members of Congress will get a briefing on the reasons for the U.S. attack.

“They were planning something,” he said of the Iranians.

Hours later, Iran struck back, firing the missiles at bases housing U.S. troops and warning the United States and its allies in the region not to retaliate. The White House said the president was monitoring the situation closely and consulting with his national security team.

So far, Trump and top national security officials have justified the air strike with general statements about the threat posted by Soleimani, who commanded proxy forces outside Iran and was responsible for the deaths of American troops in Iraq.

But the details have been scarce.

“He's no longer a monster. He's dead,” Trump said. “And that's a good thing for a lot of countries. He was planning a very big attack and a very bad attack for us and other people and we stopped him and I don't think anybody can complain about it.”

Soleimani was targeted while he was at an airport in Baghdad with Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a veteran Iraqi militant who also was killed.