Iran ‘standing down’ after missile strikes : Trump

Agency, 9 January : US President Donald Trump has said Iran “appears to be standing down” after it fired missiles at air bases housing US forces in Iraq.

Mr Trump, in a televised address from the White House, said no US or Iraqi lives were lost in the attacks and the bases suffered only minimal damage. The Irbil and Al Asad bases were attacked early on Wednesday local time.

Iran said it acted in retaliation after the assassination of top Iranian General Qasem Soleimani last week.

The US drone strike targeting him and Iran-backed militia figures in the Iraqi capital Baghdad was a major escalation amid already deteriorating relations between Iran and the US.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei described the missile attacks as a “slap in the face” for the US and called for an end to the American presence in the Middle East.

On Wednesday evening at least two rockets fell in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, where the US embassy is located. There were no reports of any damage or casualties.

The US attack on Soleimani killed members of pro-Iranian Iraqi militias, who have also said they would seek revenge.

The president has previously threatened military action against Iran if it were to target US personnel and bases, but he did not announce any military action, saying Iran’s attack had caused no casualties.

“No Americans were harmed in last night’s attack by the Iranian regime,” he said. “Iran appears to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties concerned,” he added.

He also said that “American strength, both military and economic, is the best deterrent”. “The fact that we have this great military and equipment, however, does not mean we have to use it.”

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