Iran 'appears to be standing down' after it launched a barrage of missiles at Iraqi facilities that host U.S. and coalition forces, President Donald Trump said Wednesday.
Trump said the U.S. sustained no military casualties when Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles in retaliation for the American assassination of Gen. Qasem Soleimani, the corps' former Quds Force commander.
'Iran appears to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties concerned, and a very good thing for the world,' Trump said, flanked by top military and administration officials at the White House, reiterating that Iran wouls not be allowed to attain a nuclear weapon on his watch.
He did not signal any additional U.S. military action following Wednesday's strikes but said his administration would impose additional 'punishing' sanctions on Iran while Washington 'evaluates options in response to Iranian aggression.'
Details on the economic penalties were not immediately available.
The president maintained that the U.S. remains 'ready to embrace peace with all who seek it,' after saying vaguely he would be asking NATO later Wednesday 'to be become much more involved in the Middle East process.'
He emphasized that the U.S. and Iran should work jointly on 'shared priorities,' including the final defeat of the Daesh/ISIS terrorist organization.
Soleimani was killed by a U.S. airstrike Friday near Baghdad International Airport.
The strike followed a series of tit-for-tat recriminations between the U.S. and Iran-backed forces that began with the killing of an American contractor at a U.S. base in Iraq late last month.
The U.S. retaliated with airstrikes on the Iran-backed militia it says is responsible for conducting the attack, killing dozens.
The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad was then attacked last Tuesday by a group of enraged militiamen and demonstrators.
U.S. officials have placed blame for the attacks on the U.S. embassy and base squarely on Soleimani's shoulders, claiming if the airstrike that killed him was not carried out hundreds more American lives would have been lost.
By Michael Hernandez in Washington