WASHINGTON.-The United States and Iran backed off the brink of a possible war on Wednesday, after President Donald Trump announced that he would not respond militarily after the Iranian bombing to two bases in Iraq that house US troops.
In a televised address from the White House, Trump seemed determined to de-escalate the crisis, which reached a new level after the United States ordered last week the murder of an Iranian general in Baghdad.
Instead, Trump said he would immediately apply new economic sanctions "until Iran changes its behavior." Iran's attack on Tuesday was the most direct assault on a US target since the embassy was taken in Tehran in 1979.RELATED
The president added that Iran "seems to have given in" after missile attack on two bases in Iraq used by US troops where Trump said there were no US or Iraqi casualties.
The Iranian attack came days after Trump authorized the murder of General Qassem Soleimani. Iran promised to retaliate, which brought both sides to the brink of war.
Trump credited an early warning system "that worked very well" to the fact that no American or Iraqi died. He added that Americans should be "extremely grateful and happy" with the result.
He reiterated his position that "Iran will never be allowed to have a nuclear weapon" and called for new nuclear negotiations to replace the 2015 nuclear agreement from which it withdrew the United States. He also announced that he will ask NATO to get involved "much more in the Middle East process."
Trump, who will seek re-election in November, campaigned with the promise of preventing the United States from engaging in another "endless war" in the Middle East.
On Wednesday, the president said the United States is "ready to embrace peace with all who seek it."
Trump began his message by reiterating his promise that "Iran will never be allowed to have a nuclear weapon," even when that country announced in the wake of Soleimani's assassination that it would no longer meet any of the limits of the 2015 nuclear agreement implemented to avoid to build a nuclear device
The US president also seized the moment of calm, at least temporary, to request new nuclear negotiations to replace the 2015 agreement. Trump withdrew the United States from the nuclear agreement because he considered that it did not limit the Iranian atomic program.
In a direct message to Iran, he said: "We want them to have a future and a great future."
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