While speaking from the White House foyer, US President Donald Trump on December 8 defended his decision of killing General Qassem Soleimani by stating that they had stopped a ruthless terrorist. Trump said that they eliminated the world's top terrorist who was responsible for committing the worst atrocities. The US President said that Soleimani trained extremists including Hezbollah.
Trump said, “Soleimani directed the recent attacks on US personnel in Iraq and was planning new attacks on American targets. “We stopped him. He should have been terminated long ago".
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. “Iran appears to be standing down,” he said.
In his address, Trump lashed out at Iran saying that, "they created hell in Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. He said that Iran was given $150 billion in cash in the "defective" 2015 nuclear deal with which it created "hell in Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan".
He went on to urge world leaders to work together to achieve peace. He asked NATO members to be much more involved in the Middle East peace process.
Warning Iran, Trump said, “Your campaign of terror and mayhem will not be tolerated...Our missiles are lethal and fast.”
While Iran and the US have been at loggerheads for quite some time, their relationship took a turn for the worst after a US airstrike on January 3 killed Quds Force chief General Soleimani, considered by many as the second most powerful figure in Iran.
The Pentagon confirmed that the January 3 attack at the Baghdad International Airport was carried out at the direction of President Donald Trump. Along with General Soleimani, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis- the deputy commander of the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), an Iran-backed umbrella organization comprising several militias was also killed.
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. It alleged that Soleimani and the Quds Force were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans.