President Donald Trump announced that he would only level additional economic sanctions in response to the missile attacks leveled by the Iranian government, calling for peace with the regime.
“These powerful sanctions will remain until Iran changes its behavior,” Trump said.
The president spoke to the American people at the White House on Wednesday morning, after Iran launched missile attacks against U.S. military targets in Iraq in response to Trump’s decision to kill Iran’s Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani.
The president noted gratefully that there were zero American or Iraqi casualties in the attack.
“The American people should be extremely grateful and happy that no Americans were harmed in last night’s attack, by the Iranian regime,” Trump said. “We suffered no casualties, all of our soldiers are safe, and only minimal damage was sustained at our military bases.”
Trump called for peace with Iran and sent a message to the people of Iran.
“To the people and leaders of Iran, we want you to have a future, and a great future, one that you deserve, one of prosperity at home and harmony with the nations of the world,” he said. “The United States is ready to embrace peace.”
But Trump warned Iran not to continue hostilities against the United States as the military would continue evaluating further responses to their aggression. He also urged the world to join him to warn Iran from their bad behavior in the Middle East.
“Your campaign of terror, murder, and mayhem will not be tolerated any longer,” Trump said, addressing Tehran.
The president recounted the history of Iran’s funding of their destructive behavior in the Middle East for decades
“Those days are over,” Trump said, shortly.
The president spoke in the Grand Foyer of the White House in the East Wing, roughly 20 minutes after the address was scheduled. He was flanked by Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, and other military aides.
Trump again defended his decision to strike Soleimani, noting that it sent a strong message to Iran that they should abandon their attempts to fund terrorism around the world.
“Soleimani’s hands were drenched in both American and Iranian blood, he should have been terminated long ago,” he said.
The president reemphasized at the beginning of his speech that he would never let Iran obtain a nuclear weapon and would continue his maximum pressure campaign against Iran.
He condemned former President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, noting that the country used that money to fund attacks around the world.
“Then Iran went on a terrorist spree funded by the money from the deal and created hell in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Iraq,” Trump said. “The missiles fired last night at us and our allies were paid for by the funds made available by the last administration.”