(January 8, 2020 / JNS) U.S. President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday new sanctions on Iran and called for NATO involvement in the aftermath of more than a dozen Iranian ballistic-missile attacks on Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops.
The early-morning strikes on Wednesday by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) hit the Ain Al-Asad and Irbil air bases in western Iraq.
Trump said in a speech to the nation from the White House that Iran “appears to be standing down,” and that there were no U.S. casualties in the attacks. The president said the damage was “minimal” as the “early-warning system worked very well.”
In response, Trump announced new economic penalties on Tehran, though did not provide details. “The U.S. will immediately impose additional punishing sanctions on the Iranian regime,” he said. “These powerful sanctions will remain until Iran changes its behavior.”
The Iranian strikes were in retaliation for the U.S. killing of IRGC Quds Force Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani at Baghdad Airport on Jan. 3.
In his speech, Trump called for Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions and sponsorship of terrorism.
Additionally, he called for signatories of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which he mistakenly said was signed in 2013 when there was a tentative nuclear deal with the regime, to withdraw from the agreement, saying “the time has come for the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia, China, to recognize this reality.”
The United States withdrew from the deal in May 2018 and has since consistently reimposed and added sanctions that have pinched the economy of Iran.
The president also called for de-escalation and involvement from NATO, which he has been critical of overall, even previously calling it “obsolete,” in combating the Iranian threat.
“Today, I’m going to ask NATO to become much more involved in the Middle East process,” he said.
Finally, Trump noted the strength of the rebuilt U.S. military, which is developing “hypersonic” missiles, though added that the United States doesn’t necessarily want to use them.
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