Trump says no US troops hurt in Iran strikes, Tehran ‘appears to be standing down’.
US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that Iranian missile strikes on bases in Iraq did not harm any US troops stationed there and damage was minimal, an outcome he said showed Tehran wanted to de-escalate a standoff.
Iran “appears to be standing down”, Trump said at the White House.
He announced the US would immediately impose more “powerful” sanctions on Iran.
The comments were Trump’s first televised remarks since Iran fired more than a dozen missiles at two Iraqi bases housing US troops. He also said there were no Iraqi casualties.
“The fact that we have this great military and equipment, however, does not mean we have to use it. We do not want to use it. American strength, both military and economic, is the best deterrent,” Trump said.
Tensions between the United States and Iran escalated dramatically last week after Trump ordered the killing of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in Iraq.
Iran said Wednesday’s attacks were in revenge for the killing of Soleimani. It warned the US against retaliating for the strikes.
Earlier on Wednesday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Iran’s attacks were a “slap on the face” of the US and said US troops should leave the region.
Tehran’s foreign minister said Iran took “proportionate measures” in self-defence and did not seek an escalation.
Trump had previously threatened to “fully strike back” if Iran attacked any US citizen or site belonging to the US.
Trump on Wednesday said the US will continue to look at options to respond to the attacks, but did not elaborate. He said he will ask NATO “to become much more involved” in the Middle East.