The U.S. will impose additional sanctions on Iran in response to a missile attack launched against U.S. airbases in Iraq that housed American personnel, President Trump said in a speech Wednesday.
The news that the U.S. won't be responding militarily sent markets to session highs as investors breathed a sigh of relief that the global economy will not be harmed by an increase in tensions between the U.S. and Iran.
The president confirmed there were no casualties from the attack, either U.S. or Iraqi, while also saying that Iran appears to be standing down “which is a good thing for all parties involved.”
“As long as I'm president of the United States, Iran will never be allowed to have a nuclear weapon,” Trump said in the opening sentence of his press conference at the White House Wednesday.
Iran retaliated against the U.S. assassination of Iran’s top general, Qasem Soleimani, by launching more than a dozen missiles from Iran against two military bases in Iraq that house both U.S. and Iraqi troops. Trump called Soleimani the world’s top terrorist during his speech.
The Al Asad Airbase is located about 100 miles west of Baghdad.
President Trump and his wife visited the airbase on Dec. 26, 2018, as part of his holiday season visit with U.S. troops. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and his wife followed suit and visited the air base ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday on Nov. 23, 2019.
Following the killing of Soleimani last week, Iraq’s parliament voted to expel U.S. troops from the country.
However, the president bristled at the directive during an interview on Air Force One, saying: "We're not leaving unless they pay us back for it. We have a very extraordinarily expensive airbase that’s there. It cost billions of dollars to build. Long before my time. We’re not leaving unless they pay us back for it.”
While Trump didn't make clear which airbase he was referring to, it is widely assumed that he was talking about the Al Asad base that was targeted Tuesday.