In his State of the Union Address to Congress on February 5, President Donald Trump said the United States can help improve Iran's badly ailing sanctioned economy but Tehran is "too proud or too foolish to ask" for help and defended his order to kill Iran's top general Qassem Soleimani.
Making a reference to the recent protests in Iran Trump said: "We have seen proud Iranians raise their voice against their oppressive rulers" and that the Iranian economy is doing "very, very poorly" due to U.S. sanctions. "We can help them make a very good and short time recovery."
"It can all go very quickly, but perhaps they are too proud or too foolish to ask for that help," Trump said and added: "We are here. Let's see which road they choose. It is totally up to them".
Trump also defended his decision to order the killing of Iran's Qods (Quds) Force Commander Qassem Soleimani on January 3 in a targeted attack in Baghdad.
Calling Soleimani "the Iranian regime's most ruthless butcher" and a "monster who murdered or wounded thousands of American service members in Iraq" Trump said Soleimani's "evil reign of terror" was terminated thanks to his decision to strike the Iranian commander.
The killing of Soleimani sharply escalated tensions between Iran and the United States which culminated in an Iranian ballistic missile strike on two Iraqi bases hosting U.S. troops on January 8.
In another part of his annual address to Congress Trump repeated that Iran must abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons and said the United States, while "defending American lives", is "working to end America's wars in the Middle East".
“Our message to the terrorists is clear: You will never escape American justice. If you attack our citizens, you forfeit your life," the U.S. President told Congress.