Trump: US to Impose ‘Punishing Sanctions’ After Iran Missile Attack

January 8, 2020 Updated: January 8, 2020
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President Donald Trump announced that more “punishing sanctions” would be immediately levied against Iran after it fired missiles at multiple bases housing U.S. forces in Iraq overnight.

“These sanctions will remain until Iran changes its behavior,” he said before adding that “Today, I am going to ask NATO to become much more involved in the Middle East process.”

The Iranian Revolutionary Guards claimed responsibility for the attacks on Wednesday morning, while the Pentagon confirmed missiles were fired from Iran. The Guards later warned that if Washington responds with force, it would launch more attacks.

“We suffered no casualties … only minimal damage was sustained at our military bases,” Trump during his morning press conference. “No Iraqi lives were lost,” he added.

He credited American military dispersal systems and early warning systems for the lack of American casualties in the attack.

Iran appears to be “standing down,” Trump said, but he stressed the United States would not allow Tehran to procure a nuclear weapon.

Referring to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, Trump said Germany, China, the United Kingdom, and other countries realize that it’s been a failure. He called for a new deal to restrict Iran’s nuclear aspirations.

The president again defended the airstrike to kill Gen. Qasem Soleimani, saying the general was planning attacks on American assets in the near future. In his remarks, Trump described Soleimani as the worst terrorist in the world.

Soleimani, he added, launched strikes against civilians and helped fuel civil wars in the region.

“Soleimani’s hands were both drenched in American and Iranian blood,” Trump said. “He should have been removed long ago.”

Last night, the Pentagon said that more than a dozen missiles were fired from Iran into Iraq.

Gen. Qassem Soleimani
The commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Force, Gen. Qassem Soleimani is seen in Tehran on Sept. 14, 2013. (Mehdi Ghasemi/ISNA/AFP via Getty Images)

“It is clear that these missiles were launched from Iran and targeted at least two Iraqi military bases hosting U.S. military and coalition personnel at Al Asad and Irbil,” Jonathan Hoffman, assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, said in a statement. “We are working on initial battle damage assessments.”

The Al Asad base is in Iraq’s Anbar province, which hosts some American troops.

The United States has said Soleimani was responsible for killing U.S. troops in Iraq and accused him of plotting new attacks just before he was killed. Soleimani also led forces supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad in that country’s civil war, and he also served as the point man for Iranian proxies in countries like Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen. Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Assad in Syria on Tuesday amid the tensions between Washington and Tehran.