Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif offered contradictory messages following the attack. Zarif implied that this would be the end of any Iranian “retaliation.” “Iran took and concluded proportionate measures in self-defense under Article 51 of UN Charter targeting base from which cowardly armed attack against our citizens and senior officials were launched. We do not seek escalation of war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression” said Zarif. Meanwhile Khamenei tweeted that “They were slapped last night, but such military actions are not enough.”
Trump’s message this morning was more in line with Zarif’s rhetoric. Trump opened his speech by declaring that “As long as I am President of the United States, Iran will never be allowed to have a nuclear weapon,” but did not indicate that there would be any further escalation with Iran – unless their actions require it. “Iran appears to be standing down,” Trump said.
After justifying the strike killing Gen. Qassem Soleimani, Trump’s stressed that America does not want to use our massive military power unnecessarily, and that deterrence is his goal. Trump also discussed America and Iran’s shared priorities in preventing groups like ISIS from conquering massive amounts of territory again.
In conclusion, Trump said “The United States is ready to accept peace with all who seek it.”
Watch below (fast forward to 41:40):