U.S. to impose more sanctions against Iran
President: No casualties in Tuesday missile attacks
January 8, 2020
President Donald Trump said Wednesday that the United States would impose harsh new economic sanctions on Iran and stood prepared to use America’s military prowess to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, but the president also called on nations to work together to embrace peace.
“As long as I’m president of the United States, Iran will never be allowed to have a nuclear weapon,” said Trump, whose withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear agreement negotiated between Iran and the Obama administration has sparked almost two years of heightened tensions. Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, he said, “threatens the civilized world. We will never let that happen.”
The president delivered the remarks from the White House grand foyer, flanked by Vice President Mike Pence and several military leaders, following Tuesday night’s missile attacks on Iraqi airbases that house American troops. Iran’s strikes, which Trump said caused no casualties, came after Iranian leaders vowed to avenge last week’s U.S. drone strike that killed Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s longtime top military and intelligence commander.
“The American people should be extremely grateful and happy,” Trump said. “No Americans were harmed in last night’s attack by the Iranian regime. All of our soldiers are safe and only minimal damage was sustained at our military bases. Our military forces are prepared for everything.”
Trump said “Iran appeared to be standing down,” which he called a “very good thing for the world.”
“We want you to have a future and a great future one that you deserve,” Trump said in a message to the Iranian people. “One of prosperity at home in harmony with nations in the world. We are ready to embrace peace with all who seek it.”
Trump called on members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to take a greater role in the Middle East and said the “time has come for the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia and china to recognize" that Iran “must abandon its nuclear ambitions and end its support for terrorism.”
“We must all work together toward making a deal with Iran that makes the world a safer and more peaceful place and that allows Iran to thrive and prosper,” he said. “Iran can be a great country. Peace and stability cannot prevail as long as Iran continues to foment violence hatred and war.”
But he said the U.S. would not tolerate Iran’s continued state sponsorship of terror, and he argued Soleimani’s death came at a time when the general was planning more bloodshed after Iran had recently led attacks against U.S. drones, an American contractor and the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. Soleimani was “drenched in the blood” of Americans and innocents, Trump said.
“Since 1979, nations have tolerated Iran’s destructive and destabilizing behavior in Middle East and beyond. Those days are over,” he said.
“We do not want to use” military force, the president added, though he noted that American forces had killed leaders of ISIS and Soleimani, “the world’s top terrorist.”
The new sanctions, adding to those imposed after the U.S. left the nuclear agreement, “will remain until Iran changes its behaviors,” Trump said, citing Iran’s seizure of ships in international waters, unprovoked attacks on Saudi Arabia and the shooting down of American drones.
Iran this week said it would no longer abide by the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal. But leaders said they wanted no further escalation.
Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, who on Tuesday called Trump “lawless,” said on Twitter that the attacks were “proportionate measures in self-defense” according to United Nations guidelines in response to the “cowardly armed attack against our citizens and senior officials.”