Our missiles are big, powerful, accurate, lethal and fast…The fact that we have this great military and equipment, however, does not mean that we have to use it.
While Trump recently declared that the US would wipe out 52 Iranian state and cultural targets if American interests were attacked, he struck a more conciliatory tone in his speech on Wednesday. After boasting about America’s “big missiles,” Trump suggested that under a new deal, Iran could become a “great country,” and could cooperate with the US on areas of mutual benefit.
“ISIS [Islamic State, IS, ISIL] is the natural enemy of Iran,” he said. “The destruction of ISIS is good for Iran. And we should work together on this and many other shared priorities.”
Early on Wednesday, Iran rained a barrage of missiles on two military bases used by American troops in Iraq. The missile attack came in response to the drone assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani by the US in Baghdad on Friday. Soleimani, according to Washington, had orchestrated a series of attacks on American forces in Iraq, and was allegedly plotting further strikes through Iranian-backed militias in the country. Tehran called the killing an act of “international terrorism,” vowing to take revenge.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif described the missile attack as a “proportionate measure” taken in self-defense. Zarif added that Tehran does not intend to escalate the situation further, but would target US allies in the region if Washington responds with force.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that the strikes served as a “slap in the face” for the United States, but were not “sufficient” to remove “the corrupting presence of America in the region.”