President Trump Addresses Nation: ‘Iran Appears to be Standing Down’

President Donald Trump predicted on Wednesday that Iran is backing away from the brink of war after launching airstrikes on two bases that house American troops in Iraq. Noting that the missiles did not result in any casualties, Trump said, “Iran appears to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties concerned and a very good thing for the world.”

The attack was in retaliation for the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani. The leader of Iran’s security and intelligence forces died in a drone strike on Friday. Trump’s remarks in the White House, delivered while generals and officials flanked the U.S. leader, represent his first formal public statements since tensions began mounting between the two countries. He used them to decry the Iran nuclear deal signed by his predecessor, Barack Obama, a pact that he pulled the U.S. out of in 2018, and asked other countries such as the U.K., China, Russia, Germany and France to push for a new pact.

“We must all work together toward making a deal with Iran that makes the world a safer and more peaceful place,” he said.

Popular on Variety

The Trump administration has justified the assassination of Suleimani as necessary because they claim he was coordinating an imminent attack that would have harmed Americans. In his remarks on Wednesday, Trump labelled Suleimani the “world’s top terrorist.”

“He trained terrorist armies, including Hezbollah, launching terrorist strikes against civilian targets,” Trump said. “He fueled bloody civil wars all across the region. He viciously wounded and murdered thousands of US troops, including the planting of roadside bombs that maim and dismember their victims.”

“His hands were drenched in both American and Iranian blood,” he added.

Democratic lawmakers have expressed skepticism and accused the president of acting recklessly and taking actions that potentially will tip the U.S. into a war with Iran.

“If that’s what the law is — I like to obey the law. But think of it, they kill our people, they blow up our people and then we have to be very gentle with their cultural institutions,” Trump said Tuesday.

On Twitter, Trump has claimed that the U.S. has “targeted 52 Iranian sites,” a number that was intended to reference the 52 Americans who were held hostage in a diplomatic standoff that lasted between Nov. 4, 1979, to Jan. 20, 1981. The president said those sites include Iranian cultural sites, which would be in violation of international law. He has since walked back those threats, telling reporters this week, “I like to obey the law.”

Trump said on Wednesday he will institute harsher sanctions on Iran and announced he will call on NATO to get more involved in the Middle East. He also extended something of an olive branch to Iran.

“To the people and leaders of Iran, we want you to have a future and a great future, one that you deserve,” Trump said. “One of prosperity at home and harmony with the nations of the world.”

Trump, who did not take questions, did praise his own actions. He claimed that the U.S. was now safer because his administration had enabled America to achieve “energy independence,” making it less reliant on the Middle East.

More Politics

  • Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden and Bernie

    Democrats Debate: Warren and Sanders Talk Women and Electability

    Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders sparred on Tuesday night over the question of electability, as Sanders denied having said that a woman could not win the presidency. Warren said on Monday that Sanders had told her in December 2018 that a woman could not be elected — while Sanders said the claim was “ludicrous.” [...]

  • Cory Booker

    Cory Booker Drops Out of Presidential Race

    Sen. Cory Booker announced Monday morning that he is dropping out of the presidential race, with three weeks to go before the Iowa caucus. In a message to supporters, Booker cited fundraising struggles and his failure to make the debate stage, and said he no longer sees a path to victory. “Our campaign has reached [...]

  • Ari Shapiro

    'All Things Considered' Host Ari Shapiro Signs With CAA (EXCLUSIVE)

    “All Things Considered” host Ari Shapiro has signed with CAA, Variety has learned. Before serving as one of the hosts of NPR’s award-winning afternoon news magazine program, Shapiro was NPR’s White House and international correspondent based in London. He was the first NPR reporter promoted to correspondent before the age of 30. “Many of the [...]

  • Jackie Lacey and George Gascon

    Los Angeles D.A. Challenger Questions Timing of Weinstein Rape Charges

    The leading challenger in the race for Los Angeles County district attorney has questioned the timing of rape charges against Harvey Weinstein, saying it “smacks of politics.” District Attorney Jackie Lacey is running for a third term in the March 3 primary election. On Monday, she held a press conference to announce four charges against [...]

  • Prince Harry and Meghan Duchess of

    Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to 'Step Back as Senior Members of Royal Family'

    Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have announced they are “stepping back as senior members of the Royal Family.” In an Instagram post, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex explained that they made the decision to work towards “becoming financially independent” and to raise their son between the United States and the United Kingdom. Speculation is [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content