In his first televised address to the nation after Iran’s attack on US military bases, US President Donald Trump stated that “Iran appears to be standing down” and that his administration would impose new sanctions on Iran.
In an attempt to de-escalate US-Iran tensions, Trump signaled that he would not retaliate militarily.
“The fact that we have this great military and equipment, however, does not mean we have to use it. We do not want to use it. American strength, both military and economic, is the best deterrent,” Trump said.
The Pentagon said Iran had launched 16 short-range ballistic missiles, at least 11 of which hit Iraq’s al-Asad air base and one of which hit a facility in Erbil. None are reported to have caused any major damage.
No Americans were hurt in the overnight attacks on US military bases.
New Iranian sanctions
Trump announced that the US would immediately impose “powerful” new sanctions until “Iran changes its behavior”. It was not clear what the new sanctions would consist of.
Trump opened his remarks at the White House by stating that “Iran will never be allowed to have a nuclear weapon.”
In the wake of Soleimani’s killing, Iran announced that it would no longer comply with any of the limits on uranium enrichment that had been established in the 2015 nuclear deal to prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon.
Both sides seek to defuse tension
On January 8, Trump said the US was “ready to embrace peace with all who seek it.”
This statement contrasts his warning from a day earlier that “if Iran does anything that they shouldn’t be doing, they’re going to be suffering the consequences, and very strongly.”
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Hosseini Khamenei said Iran’s attacks on the US bases were a “slap on the face” of the US and urged US troops to leave the region.
Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif said Iran took “proportionate measures” to defend itself and did not seek a further escalation.
Iran War Powers resolution
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that House Democrats would take up legislation on January 9 to restrict President Trump’s ability to pursue military action and risk increasing hostilities with Iran.
“Today, to honor our duty to keep the American people safe, the House will move forward with a War Powers Resolution to limit the President’s military actions regarding Iran,” Pelosi said on January 8.
Pelosi added that members of Congress “have serious, urgent concerns” about the administration’s decision to engage in hostilities against Iran and about its lack of strategy moving forward.
“The administration took this action without consulting Congress,” Pelosi said.
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