(CNSNews.com) - “As long as I am president of the United States, Iran will never be allowed to have a nuclear weapon,” President Donald Trump said Wednesday, addressing Iran’s decision to launch ballistic missiles at two military bases in Iraq on Wednesday that housed U.S. and coalition forces.
“I am pleased to inform you, the American people should be extremely grateful and happy. No Americans were harmed in last night's attack by the Iranian regime. We suffered no casualties. All of our soldiers are safe, and only minimal damage was sustained at our military bases,” he said during a speech at the White House.
“Our great American forces are prepared for anything. 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 of forces, and an early warning system that worked very well,” the president said.
Trump addressed the leaders of Iran and its people, saying the United States “is ready to embrace peace with all who seek it.”
“To the people and leaders of Iran, we want you to have a future, and a great future - one that you deserve, one of prosperity at home, and harmony with the nations of the world. The United States is ready to embrace peace with all who seek it,” the president said.
Meanwhile, ahead of Trump’s remarks, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif announced on Twitter Tuesday that despite the missile attacks on military bases in Iraq, Iran does not “seek escalation or war” but will defend itself against aggression.
“Iran took & concluded proportionate measures in self-defense under Article 51 of UN Charter targeting base from which cowardly armed attack against our citizens & senior officials were launched. We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression,” he tweeted.
Trump praised “the incredible skill and courage” of the U.S. military and condemned Iran for its “destructive and destabilizing behavior in the MIddle East and beyond” since 1979, which other nations have tolerated.
“Those days are over,” he said. ”Iran has been the leading sponsor of terrorism and the pursuit of nuclear weapons, threatens the civilized world. We will never let that happen.”
The president detailed the atrocities that Iran’s top general, Qassem Soleimani, committed, including recent attacks on Americans, which led to his targeted killing.
“Soleimani directed the recent attacks on U.S. personnel in Iraq that badly wounded four service members, and killed one American, and he orchestrated the violent assault on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. In recent days, he was planning new attacks on American targets, but we stopped him,” Trump said.
“Soleimani's hands were drenched in both American and Iranian blood. He should have been terminated long ago. By removing Soleimani, we have sent a powerful message to terrorists: If you value your own life, you will not threaten the lives of our people,” the president added.
Trump announced additional economic sanctions on Iran and said he will call on NATO to get more involved in the Middle East.
“As we continue to evaluate options and response to Iranian aggression, the United States will immediately impose additional punishing economic sanctions on the Iranian regime. These powerful sanctions will remain until Iran changes its behavior,” the president said.
Trump criticized the nuclear deal drafted by the Obama administration, pointing out that it gave Iran $150 billion, including $1.8 billion in cash. He also noted that the missiles fired by Iran in Wednesday night’s attacks were funded by the Obama administration.
“Instead of saying ‘Thank you’ to the United States, they chanted ‘Death to America,’” he said. “In fact, they chanted ‘Death to America’ the day the agreement was signed. Then Iran went on a terror spree, funded by the money from the deal, and created hell in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Iraq. The missiles fired last night at us and our allies were paid for with the funds made available by the last administration.”
Trump pointed out that the nuclear deal “expires shortly anyway and gives Iran a clear and quick path to nuclear breakout.”
“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, and we must all work together toward making a deal with Iran that makes the world a safer and more peaceful place,” the president said.
“We must also make a deal that allows Iran to thrive and prosper and take advantage of its enormous untapped potential. Iran can be a great country. Peace and stability cannot prevail in the Middle East, as long as Iran continues to foment violence, unrest, hatred, and war. The civilized world must send a clear and unified message to the Iranian regime -- your campaign of terror, murder, mayhem, will not be tolerated any longer. It will not be allowed to go forward,” he said.
In addition to calling for more NATO involvement, Trump noted that the United States is energy independent and does not need oil from the Middle East.
“Today I am going to ask NATO to become much more involved in the Middle East process. Over the last three years, under my leadership, our economy is stronger than ever before and America has achieved energy Independence,” he said.
“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,” the president said.
Destroying ISIS is a shared goal of the United States and Iran, Trump noted.
“Three months ago, after destroying 100% of ISIS and its territorial caliphate, we killed the savage leader of ISIS, al-Baghdadi, who is responsible for so much death, including the masked beheadings of Christians, muslims, and all who stood in his way. He was a monster,” the president said.
“Al-Baghdadi was trying, again, to rebuild the ISIS caliphate and failed. Tens of thousands of ISIS fighters have been killed or captured during my administration. ISIS is a natural enemy of Iran. The destruction of ISIS is good for Iran, and we should work together on this and other shared priorities,” he added.
“Finally, to the people and leaders of Iran, we want you to have a future, and a great future - one that you deserve, one of prosperity at home, and harmony with the nations of the world. The United States is ready to embrace peace with all who seek it,” Trump concluded.