President Trump said Tuesday “everything is fine” after Iran fired missiles at two military bases in Iraq that house US troops and coalition personnel, adding that he will make a statement Wednesday morning about the attacks.
“Assessment of the victims and the damage that is happening now. So far, so good! “Trump tweeted.
“We have by far the most powerful and well-equipped military in the world! I’ll make a statement tomorrow morning, “he added.
Initial reports indicated that there were no US casualties in the missile attacks, although this could change pending the final evaluation.
The tweet marked the president’s first comments since news surfaced that Iran claimed responsibility for the attack on Iraqi bases. The White House announced the night before that Trump would not speak from the Oval Office on Tuesday.
The Pentagon said Iran fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles at US military and coalition forces stationed at al-Asad airbase and in Irbil on Tuesday night.
“In recent days and in response to Iranian threats and actions, the Department of Defense has taken all appropriate measures to safeguard our staff and partners,” said Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman. “These bases have been on high alert due to indications that the Iranian regime planned to attack our forces and interests in the region.”
“As we evaluate the situation and our response, we will take all necessary measures to protect and defend the United States’ personnel, partners and allies in the region,” added Hoffman.
The White House previously claimed that Trump had been informed and was closely monitoring the situation while consulting with his national security team. Vice President Pence contacted members of Congress about Trump’s attacks on leadership.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a tweet that Iran had taken “self-defense measures” to attack the base from which a “cowardly armed attack against our citizens and senior officials” was launched.
“We are not looking for escalation or war, but we will defend ourselves against any aggression,” tweeted Zarif.
The attacks on Tuesday night marked a new escalation after an attack with American drones that killed Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad last week. Trump administration officials characterized that the strike has a defensive measure aimed at deterring upcoming plans that could have caused casualties in the United States. It happened after a series of climbs in the region, culminating in the death of an American contractor in Iraq that the United States accused Tehran of.
It is not yet clear how the Trump administration will respond to the latest escalation and Wednesday’s statement could provide guidance on the administration’s strategy in the future. The president has repeatedly expressed a desire to end U.S. participation in undefined foreign plots, and Tuesday’s limited tweet was interpreted by some to be a sign that he hopes to ease tensions.
Trump is likely to be pressured by aggressive members of Congress and administration officials to respond in some way to Iran.
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). Tuesday evening he told Fox News that he spoke to Trump in the wake of the missile attacks, which he described as an “act of war”. The senator suggested that the administration could attack Tehran’s oil structures, although it did not specify any policy.
“His fate lies in his hands in terms of the regime’s economic viability,” Graham told Sean Hannity. “If you continue with this garbage, one day you get up from the oil sector.”
Thursday’s attack on Soleimani raised concerns about the potential for destabilizing consequences in the Middle East and complicated American politics in Iraq, whose parliament voted earlier this week to end the presence of US troops.
Trump administration officials defended the strike during the check, citing what they called hard evidence of threats to Americans without going into details about true intelligence because of national security concerns. Iran had promised a harsh response to Soleimani’s death.
During a briefing on Tuesday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said that the United States “should expect Iran to represent itself in some form, shape or form” and encouraged Iran to “shrink in size”.
Trump over the weekend threatened to attack sites in Iran, including those important to Iranian culture, if Tehran had taken military action against U.S. assets in retaliation for the murder of Soleimani.
On Tuesday the president seemed to be stepping back to those comments as he spoke to journalists from the Oval Office, but continued to warn that the United States would respond “strongly” if Tehran had done something it “shouldn’t have done.”
This News is reported by thehill.com