Reacting to Iran’s missile attack on Wednesday, US President Donald Trump asserted that no American citizen was hurt. In a significant climbdown, he avoided any mention of war and instead, announced that the US would immediately impose “punishing” economic sanctions on Iran. Alleging that Iran was a leading sponsor of terrorism, he highlighted how General Qassem Soleimani was responsible for the killing of thousands of US soldiers. In a clear warning directed at Iran, Trump stressed that the US was no longer dependent on the Middle East for oil and therefore, hinted that it was not averse to pursuing its agenda in the region. He also claimed that Iran's missile attack was financed by the funds made available to it by the Barack Obama administration under the Nuclear Deal. Noting that ISIS was its natural enemy, he called upon Iran to abandon its nuclear ambition and give up its support for terrorism.
"As long as I am the President of the US, Iran will never be allowed to have a nuclear weapon. No Americans were harmed during last night’s attack by the Iranian regime. Only minimal damage was sustained at our military bases."
"Iran appears to be standing down which is a good thing for all parties concerned and a very good thing for the world. No American or Iraqi lives were lost because of the precautions taken, the dispersal forces and an early warning system worked very well."
"Iran has been a leading sponsor of terrorism and their pursuit of nuclear weapons threatens the civilized world. We will never let that happen. At my instructions, the United States eliminated the world’s top terrorist Qassem Soleimani. As the head of the Quds Force, he was personally responsible for some of the worst atrocities. He wounded and murdered thousands of US troops. Soleimani’s hands were drenched in both American and Iranian blood."
"As we continue to evaluate options in response to Iranian aggression, the United States will immediately impose additional economic punishing sanctions on the Iranian regime. These powerful sanctions will remain until Iran changes its behaviour."
"Iran’s hostility increased substantially after the foolish nuclear Iran deal US was signed in 2013 and there were given 150 billion dollars, not to mention 1.8 billion dollars in cash. Instead of saying thank you to the United States, they chanted death to America. The missiles fired last night at us and allies were paid for with the funds available by the last administration."
"Iran must abandon its nuclear ambition and its support for terrorism. The time has come for the UK, Germany, France, Russia and China to recognise this reality. They must now break away from the remnants of the Iran deal. We must all work together with making a deal with Iran that makes the world a safer and more peaceful place."
"Today, I am going to ask NATO to become much more involved in the Middle East process. We are now the number one producer of oil and natural gas anywhere in the world. We are independent and we do not need Middle East oil."
"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. We do not want to use it. American strength both military and economic is the best deterrent."
"Three months ago, after destroying 100% of ISIS and its territory, we killed the savage leader of ISIS- Al-Baghdadi who is responsible for the mass beheadings of so many, including Christians, Muslims and all those who stood in his way. ISIS is a natural enemy of Iran. The destruction of ISIS is good for Iran."
Earlier in the day, Iran launched more than a dozen missiles at Iraq's military bases of Al-Asad and Erbil, that house thousands of US troops. The Iranian state television claimed that 80 Americans were killed in the airstrike. This was contradicted by Iraq's Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi who stated that no casualties had been reported. Meanwhile, the Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif defended the missile attack and clarified that his country did not seek war.
While Iran and the US have been at loggerheads for quite sometime, their relationship took a worse turn after a US air raid on January 3 killed Quds Force chief General Soleimani, considered by many as the second most powerful figure in Iran. General Soleimani had acquired a larger than life image due to his role in spreading Iranian influence in West Asia. On the other hand, the US accused the Quds Force of providing funding, training, weapons, and equipment to US-designated terrorist groups in West Asia including Hezbollah and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group in Gaza.