President Trump is putting the brakes on any further military actions against Iran, telling attendees at a press conference on Wednesday that he would instead be pursuing economic sanctions and diplomacy.
The shift comes as Iran and America have exchanged hostilities over the past week: Iran launched a volley of missiles onto an Iraqi military base housing American troops in response to a Trump-ordered drone strike that killed Iran’s top military commander, Qassem Soleimani. There were no reported casualties in the Iranian assault.
The president said he would also push for a new internationally-agreed upon nuclear peace deal with Iran.
During the Wednesday address, Trump said: “The fact that we have this great military and equipment, however, does not mean we have to use it. We do not want to use it.”
Reuters reports Trump said that Iran “appears to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties concerned.”
“Iran must abandon its nuclear ambitions and end its support for terrorism,” the president added per ABC News. “The time has come for the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia, and China to recognize this reality. They must now break away from the remnants of the Iran deal — or JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] — and we must all work together toward making a deal with Iran that makes the world a safer and more peaceful place.”
NEW: Pres. Trump says "the time has come" for other nations to "break away from the remnants of the Iran deal, or JCPOA, and we must all work together toward making a deal with Iran that makes the world a safer and more peaceful place." https://t.co/ldmNa7FdiK pic.twitter.com/4fcteEkgFP
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) January 8, 2020
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Trump also said it was time for world powers to replace the 2015 nuclear accord with a new deal that would allow Iran to “thrive and prosper”.
But Trump also said he would impose more stringent sanctions on Iran, without giving details.
Iran’s U.N. ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi said in response that Tehran could not trust any idea of dialogue when Trump was threatening to intensify the “economic terrorism” of sanctions, the official news agency IRNA reported.
Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards also issued new threats to Washington, with one senior commander warning of “harsher revenge soon” and another saying Wednesday’s missile strikes were only the start of a series of attacks across the region.
The way the President has handled Iran is masterful. Now it's time for the socialist Democrats to stop defending Tehran and start defending America. pic.twitter.com/mHmyzZp9lx
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) January 9, 2020