More than fifteen hours after an Iranian missile attack on U.S. bases in Iraq, and no retaliation, President Donald Trump says Iran “appears to be standing down”.
In a brief address to the nation on Wednesday, Trump said that “no American or Iraqi lives were lost” in Iran’s revenge attack and “no Americans were harmed”.
Although Trump reiterated that Iran will never acquire nuclear weapons on his watch and announced new sanctions will be imposed on Tehran, he did not threaten any retaliatory strike.
In recent days, the U.S. president had repeatedly and sternly warned Iran against any attack on Americans or U.S. interests.
After the January targeted killing of Iran’s top general Qassem Soleimani by the United States, the Islamic Republic had promised a “harsh revenge”, but the early January 8 attack did no harm to U.S. servicemen and only minimal damage to the facilities in Iraq.
The same way the U.S. killing of Soleimani had solicited condemnations by many countries, Iran’s attack was also condemned, and world leaders urged an end to escalation.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei earlier in the day claimed victory and said the U.S. “was slapped in the face”. The claim of retaliation against the U.S. is important for Khamenei in bringing confidence back to his domestic and regional supporters, after Soleimani, the architect of Iran’s regional influence, was killed by a U.S. drone.