President Donald Trump has said Iran “appears to be standing down” after it launched a ballistic missile strike on two Iraqi bases housing US troops.
The president said: “The American people should be extremely grateful and happy no Americans were harmed in last night’s attack by the Iranian regime.
“Our great American forces are prepared for anything. Iran appears to be standing down which is a good thing for all parties involved and a very good thing for the world.”
Mr Trump indicated that he would not enforce a military reaction but said the US would immediately put in place new “punishing” economic sanctions “until Iran changes its behaviour”.
He warned that US missiles are “big, powerful, accurate, lethal, and fast” but added that he “[does] not want to use” the military equipment.
He also called on other nations to follow his lead in withdrawing from the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal.
Under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Iran agreed to limit its nuclear programme and allow in international inspectors in return for the easing of economic sanctions.
Mr Trump said the UK, Germany, France, Russia and China to “break away” from the deal and “work together toward making a deal with Iran that makes the world a safer and more peaceful place”.
Qasam Soleimani was head of Iran’s elite Quds force who Mr Trump labelled as a “ruthless terrorist”.
“Soleimani’s hands were drenched in both American and Iranian blood – he should have been terminated long ago,” the president said.
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