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8 Jan, 2020 16:26

‘No lives lost’: Trump holds fire on ‘big missiles,’ talks peace after Iran’s strikes on US bases in Iraq

‘No lives lost’: Trump holds fire on ‘big missiles,’ talks peace after Iran’s strikes on US bases in Iraq

US President Donald Trump is delivering an eagerly-awaited address to America, as the country stands on the brink of war with Iran. Trump’s speech comes hours after Iranian missiles struck two US bases in Iraq.

Speaking from the White House, Trump backed away from threatening further strikes against Iran, describing Tehran’s stand-down as “a good thing for all parties concerned.”

Our missiles are big, powerful, accurate, lethal and fast...The fact that we have this great military and equipment, however, does not mean that we have to use it.

Trump did, however, vow to impose new economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic, in addition to the thousand or so imposed since the US withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, or Iran nuclear deal) in 2018. “These powerful sanctions will remain,” he said, “until Iran changes its behavior.”

“Iran must abandon its nuclear ambitions and end its support for terrorism,” Trump continued. “Time has come for the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia and China to recognize this reality. They must now break away from the remnants of the JCPOA.”

Also on rt.com Iran warns ‘Great Satan’ America that any new attack will result in ‘painful and crushing’ response, including against Israel

While Trump recently declared that the US would wipe out 52 Iranian state and cultural targets if American interests were attacked, he struck a more conciliatory tone in his speech on Wednesday. After boasting about America’s “big missiles,” Trump suggested that under a new deal, Iran could become a “great country,” and could cooperate with the US on areas of mutual benefit.

“ISIS [Islamic State, IS, ISIL] is the natural enemy of Iran,” he said. “The destruction of ISIS is good for Iran. And we should work together on this and many other shared priorities.”

Early on Wednesday, Iran rained a barrage of missiles on two military bases used by American troops in Iraq. The missile attack came in response to the drone assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani by the US in Baghdad on Friday. Soleimani, according to Washington, had orchestrated a series of attacks on American forces in Iraq, and was allegedly plotting further strikes through Iranian-backed militias in the country. Tehran called the killing an act of “international terrorism,” vowing to take revenge.

Also on rt.com WATCH 1st videos of ‘Iranian revenge’ strikes on US bases in Iraq

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif described the missile attack as a “proportionate measure” taken in self-defense. Zarif added that Tehran does not intend to escalate the situation further, but would target US allies in the region if Washington responds with force.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that the strikes served as a “slap in the face” for the United States, but were not “sufficient” to remove “the corrupting presence of America in the region.”

READ MORE: Kicking all US troops out of Middle East will be Iran’s ‘final answer’ to Soleimani’s assassination – Rouhani

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