TRUMP PULLS BACK FROM WAR WITH IRAN IN NATIONAL ADDRESS

While he promised to immediately impose "punishing" new economic sanctions on Tehran, Trump welcomed signs the Islamic republic "appears to be standing down" in the tit-for-tat confrontation.

• The comments cooled what threatened to become an uncontrolled boiling over of tensions after Trump ordered the killing last Friday of a top Iranian general, Qasem Soleimani.

• However, the U.S. president, facing both an impeachment trial in Congress and a tough re-election in November, defended his targeting of a man seen by many as Iran's second most influential official by claiming Soleimani, a national hero at home, was "the world's top terrorist" and "should have been terminated long ago."

• Noticing Iran's announcement, which said it would no longer limit itself to the restrictions contained in the nuclear treaty, Trump highlighted U.S. opposition, stating that he would never allow Iran to procure a nuclear weapon.


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP

President Donald Trump pulled back from the brink of war with Iran on Wednesday, saying that Tehran appeared to be "standing down" after firing missiles, stressing that there are no reports of U.S. or Iraqi casualties from Iran's missile attacks on two bases housing U.S. forces in Iraq that took place early Wednesday local time.


'No Americans harmed'


In a televised address to the nation from the White House, Trump emphasized there were "no Americans harmed" in the ballistic missile salvo aimed at two bases.


"I THINK AT THIS POINT WITH THE STRIKES WE TOOK AGAINST KH IN LATE DECEMBER AND THEN OUR ACTIONS WITH REGARD TO SOLEIMANI, I BELIEVE THAT WE'VE RESTORED A LEVEL OF DETERRENCE WITH THEM," HE TOLD REPORTERS, REFERRING TO KATAIB HEZBOLLAH, AN ARMED IRAQI GROUP BACKED BY IRAN. "BUT WE WILL SEE. TIME WILL TELL," ESPER SAID. HE ALSO DOWNPLAYED THE FIRING OF TWO ROCKETS INTO BAGHDAD'S FORTIFIED GREEN ZONE LATE ON WEDNESDAY, WHERE THE U.S. AND OTHER FOREIGN EMBASSIES ARE LOCATED AND MANY U.S. TROOPS ARE BASED.

While he promised to immediately impose "punishing" new economic sanctions on Tehran, Trump welcomed signs the Islamic republic "appears to be standing down" in the tit-for-tat confrontation.


The comments cooled what threatened to become an uncontrolled boiling over of tensions after Trump ordered the killing last Friday of a top Iranian general, Qasem Soleimani.



However, the U.S. president, facing both an impeachment trial in Congress and a tough re-election in November, defended his targeting of a man seen by many as Iran's second most influential official by claiming Soleimani, a national hero at home, was "the world's top terrorist" and "should have been terminated long ago."


Noticing Iran's announcement, which said it would no longer limit itself to the restrictions contained in the nuclear treaty, Trump highlighted U.S. opposition, stating that he would never allow Iran to procure a nuclear weapon.


He then urged European allies and other world powers to follow America's lead in abandoning an international agreement on managing the country's nuclear ambitions.

Trump's 2018 withdrawal from that agreement and the re-imposition of crippling economic sanctions against Iran fanned tensions between the two countries.


'Slap in the face'

Iran's missiles targeted the sprawling Ain al-Asad airbase in western Iraq and a base in Arbil, both housing American and other foreign troops from a U.S.-led coalition fighting the remnants of the Islamic State (ISIL) jihadist group.


Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who earlier promised "revenge" for Soleimani, called the missiles a "slap in the face" against the United States. He indicated there was more to come.