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Live Updates: Trump Announces New Sanctions vs. Iran

Live Updates: Trump Announces New Sanctions vs. Iran

 President Trump is citing minimal damage to American assets and no casualties following Iran's retaliatory strikes on two bases in Iraq housing troops.
For the first time in a White House interview, President Trump officially discussed the controversy by The New York Times RIGHT NOW. He didn't have any concerns.

Here’s what you need to know:

After its retaliatory strikes, President Trump talks about Iran.
President Trump announced new economic sanctions against Iran and railed against the Obama-era nuclear deal that he had withdrawn from the United States in his first formal public remarks since General Suleimani's drone strike was ordered last week.
"As long as I'm the U.S. president, Iran will never be allowed to have a nuclear weapon," said Mr. Trump to begin his remarks. Then, addressing the crowd of about 40 in the White House's Grand Foyer, Mr. Trump said, "Good morning." Mr. Trump talked about the confrontation with Iran after Tehran launched air strikes on two bases housing American troops in Iraq.
These attacks were in retaliation on Friday in Baghdad for an American drone strike that killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, commander of the security and intelligence forces of Iran's elite. No American troops have been killed in Wednesday's attacks.

Mr. Trump's televised statement on Wednesday morning was his first formal attempt to explain the situation with Iran since he ordered General Suleimani's drone strike.
"He was meant to be done a long time ago," Mr Trump said.
Mr. Trump wrote a series of posts on Twitter and spoke to a number of reporters without making an official statement explaining his thought.

Soon after the news of the bases attacks, the president tweeted, "Everything's good!"On Twitter, adding, there is now an assessment of the casualties and damages. So far, so much the better!"The messages from the administration since Friday's drone strike were sometimes conflicting and confusing. When his defense secretary, Mark T. Esper, made it clear that such attacks would be a war crime, Mr. Trump was forced to go back on plans to threaten Iranian cultural sites

Iran claims that after firing missiles at Iraq bases that house Americans, it doesn't want war.
photo credit

Early indications suggest that the U.S. and Iran have left the edge of a war.
Since firing more than 20 ballistic missiles at two military bases in Iraq where U.S. soldiers are deployed, the Iranian foreign minister said Wednesday that his country had "concluded" its attacks on U.S. forces and did not "want aggression or war."
In response to the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, a leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, the minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, posted the remarks on Twitter.
Top Iraqi defense officials working with the U.S. command said the attacks had not killed any Americans or Iraqis. In a brief statement released on Wednesday morning, the Baghdad Joint Command, which comprises both Iraqi troops and international coalition soldiers, said that none of the sides "reported any losses." Without American deaths from Iran's missiles, Mr. Trump may not feel the same urgency to punch back as he would have faced high troop casualties.
An official said in a briefing in Washington that the Pentagon "had no evidence" that it had killed any American. Australia, France, Denmark, Poland, and Sweden, whose soldiers are deployed alongside American forces in Iraq, all said that they had not killed any of their employees.

There was a different version of events in some Iranian media. Fars, a news agency associated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, said the strikes had killed "at least 80 U.S. troops," citing an unnamed senior military officer.

General Suleimani was killed in a drone strike by President Trump on Friday in Baghdad. American officials said the general, who commanded the Revolutionary Guards ' foreign expeditionary Quds Force, was planning imminent attacks on American interests. This intelligence has since been identified by an American official as thin.
"Iran took and concluded proportionate self-defense measures." Mr. Zarif wrote in his Twitter message, adding, "We're not seeking escalation or war, but we're going to defend ourselves against aggression." The missiles, launched from Iran, struck Al Asad Air Base in western Iraq and another in Erbil in the north.

Iranian news media confirmed the attacks had begun hours after General Suleimani's remains had been returned for burial to his home town in Iran. On Wednesday, President Hassan Rouhani wrote on Twitter that the general "heroically fought" against a number of jihadist groups and that Europe was more protected because of his efforts.
"Our final response to his assassination is to kick out of the region all the U.S. forces," he said.

Leader of the Senate urged Trump to restrain himself as he decided how to respond.
Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader of the Senate, said he spoke to President Trump on Wednesday night after Iran's missile strikes and urged the government to show "restraint." Speaking on the Senate floor, Mr. McConnell expressed gratitude for what he called the president's "patience and prudence" in deliberating on the missile strikes that destroyed two Iraqi bases.
As a superpower, we are capable of exercising restraint and responding when and where we choose," Mr. McConnell said. "I think the president wants to avoid confrontation or loss of life without need. But he's properly prepared to protect American lives and interests. "Mr. McConnell's remarks came ahead of the president's remarks at the White House and before the top military and national security officials of the administration were expected to brief lawmakers on the president's decision to kill the most powerful general of Iran.
But even as Mr. McConnell called for caution, he cautioned Iran not to take any further military action against the United States. He called Iran's decision to respond to the assassination with a missile strike "another strong reminder that Iran and its proxies have for some time been a cancer of Iraq's sovereignty and of Iraq's politics." He added: "I hope Iran's leaders will not miscalculate by questioning our collective will in launching further attacks," adding that Iran should never question "our national will."

Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said on Wednesday that his military had dealt a "slap in the face" to the United States when it fired missiles at Iraq-based American forces.
photo credit nytimes 

In a televised address from Qom's holy city, Ayatollah Khamenei said limited military action against the U.S. alone was "not enough." "What counts is that America's involvement, which is a source of corruption in this country, will come to an end," he said in a hall packed with imams and others.
"America's death!"sang the crowd. "To Israel's death!"Ayatollah Khamenei said that' sitting at the negotiating table' with American envoys would open the door to greater American intervention in the region and that such negotiations must therefore' end.'' This region,' he said,' does not recognize the involvement of the United States.' The Ayatollah did not provide any additional details on Tuesday night's attacks in which, according to American allies, no one was ki.
He called Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, considered to be the second most powerful man in Iran, a "dear friend to us," and praised him as a "strong, brave warrior." Iran's president, Hassan Rouhani, outlined in his meeting with the ministerial council on Wednesday morning the larger regional objective of his country in comments addressed to the Americans. "You cut off Qassim Suleimani's hand from his body and we're going to cut off the region's feet," he said.

Iraq is calling for de-escalation as the conflict is taking place on its soil.
photo credit nytimes 
Iraq's Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi issued a statement on Wednesday stating that his government will "continue its vigorous attempts to prevent escalation" in the ongoing Iran-U.S. dispute.

Following Iranian missile strikes on bases hosting American troops in Iraq, Mr. Abdul Mahdi objected to the breach of the sovereignty of his country, repeating comments he made after the assassination of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani on Friday and after American strikes on an Iranian-backed militia in late December in western Iraq. But Mr. Abdul Mahdi noted that some warning was given to the Iraqis about the strike in Iran.
He said the government had received an official message from Tehran in a statement that the "retaliation" had started for the killing of General Suleimani and that it would target American sites in Iraq. But the exact locations had not been warned before, he added.
"At the same time, we were called by the American side as the rockets dropped on the American side," Mr. Abdul Mahdi said in the statement at the two bases. He noted that on the Iraqi side there was no loss of life and no reports of deaths from the coalition.
Although Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said his country had concluded its attack on Wednesday, officials around the region warned that the statement did not mean that Tehran was maneuvered, and Iran's leadership reiterated its goal of forcing U.S. troops out of the Middle East.
In Wednesday's missile strikes, Iran targeted two bases housing American troops: Al Asad Air Base in Anbar Province and another facility in Erbil, Kurdistan Region.
President Trump visited the U.S. military at Asad base in December 2018. It was his first outing to soldiers stationed in a war zone.
The base is an Iraqi facility that has long been a center for American military operations in western Iraq, and in recent years there have also been other international coalition troops stationed.

Erbil's base was a Special Operations center, home to hundreds of soldiers, logistics personnel, and intelligence specialists. The airport was used as an anchor point for operations both in northern Iraq and deep into Syria by transport aircraft, gunships and reconnaissance aircraft.

When a passenger jet crashed near Tehran, at least 170 people died.
A Ukrainian Boeing 737-800 carrying at least 170 people crashed shortly after Tehran's takeoff on Wednesday, killing everyone on board, Iranian state news media reported.
The crash's circumstances were unknown. The Iranian sources cited technical issues with the aircraft that was bound for Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine. The crash came at a tense time in Iran, as the country was on the brink of conflict with the U.S.
Photographs released by Iranian news organizations showed smoking rubble rescuers in a field. The state-run Iranian Students ' News Agency shared a video that it said showed the pre-dawn crash, with a distant light coming down in the distance before a bright burst filled the sky with impact.
The flight, Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, departed at 6:12 a.m. from Imam Khomeini International Airport serving Tehran. After a flight tracker on Wednesday and lost contact at 6:14 a.m.

"We know about Iran's media reports and we're collecting more information," Boeing said in a statement.
After the crash of two 737 Max jets in less than five months, Boeing was under intense scrutiny, killing 346 people. Since March, the Max has been based around the world, creating a crisis for the company and leading to the chief executive's firing.
The crash on Wednesday could also impact a political nerve in Ukraine as Ihor Kolomoisky, an oligarch with close ties to President Volodymyr Zelensky, is partly owned by the airline running the flight, Ukraine International Airlines, through a network of offshore companies.
The President of Ukraine expressed his condolences to the passengers and crew's relatives and friends. The casualties included 82 Iranians and 11 Ukrainians, including nine Ukrainian crew members, said Vadym Prystaiko, Ukraine's foreign minister. He said there were sixty-three passengers from Canada, ten from Sweden, four from Afghanistan, three from Britain, and three from Germany.

Airlines are diverting airspace flights through Iran and Iraq.

Many international airlines announced that after news of attacks on bases housing American troops in Iraq, flights would avoid airspace over Iran and Iraq. The movements also came after the apparently unrelated news of the early hours of Wednesday near Tehran crash of a Ukrainian passenger plane. Other airlines canceled regional flights.
The F.A.A. barred American airliners from flying over Iran on Tuesday, citing the risk that military aircraft might mistake commercial aircraft.

On Wednesday, the Dutch carrier KLM said it was no longer flying "until further notice" in Iraqi or Iranian airspace, citing security risks. As reported by news agencies, Air France and the Australian carrier Qantas took similar measures.
The German airline Lufthansa also announced that a regular flight between Frankfurt and Tehran would be temporarily cancelled due to the security situation, according to Reuters, but later said that the route would resume on Thursday.

European leaders have condemned the rocket attacks by Iran.
Wednesday, the European Union condemned Iran's rocket attacks on Iraqi bases housing U.S. and coalition troops, urging an end to the region's "spiral of violence." The bloc also urged continued talks to ease tensions in the Middle East following a U.S. drone strike in Iraq on Friday that killed an Iranian officer.
"The latest rocket attacks on Iraq's air bases used by U.S. and coalition forces, including European troops, are yet another sign of escalation and increased conflict," said Josep Borrell Fontelles, the European Union's foreign policy leader. It is in no one's interest to continue the spiral of violence.' European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that' we must stop using weapons now to give space to dialogue,' adding,' we are all called to do our utmost to rekindle talks, and that can not be enough.'' She also said that the bloc remained committed to trying to preserve the spiral of violence. Following Tehran's phased withdrawal from its commitments under the agreement after it was rejected by President Trump in 2018, the call to save the deal comes.

Mr. Borrell invited Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to Brussels and European Foreign Ministers will meet on Friday to discuss the crisis in Iran.
The two officials of the European Union spoke to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson before Ms. von der Leyen travelled to London for negotiations on Brexit. Mr. Johnson, speaking in the British Parliament on Wednesday, repeated the call for calm, but said that the Iranian general killed by the United States last week had "blood on his hands." "Iran should not continue such reckless and dangerous attacks, but should instead seek immediate de-escalation," Mr. Johnson said.
The French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, also condemned the strikes and said he was in contact with "all the parties involved to encourage restraint and responsibility." "The cycle of violence must stop," Mr. Le Drian said in a statement on Wednesday. "France remains willing, for its part, to work towards reducing tensions."

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