US President Donald Trump announced Wednesday in a speech delivered to the nation at 11 am that “Iran appears to be standing down” – good news to those who had spent the dark hours till dawn chewing their nails and wondering whether World War III was finally about to erupt at last.

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No American or Iraqi lives were lost the barrage of Iranian ballistic missiles landed at Ain Al-Asad air base in Anbar province, the president reported. One missile also struck an air base in Erbil, further north, where US forces also serve, and four other missiles failed to detonate properly, according to military sources.

“I’m pleased to inform you, the American people should be extremely grateful and happy. No Americans were harmed by the attack by the Iranian regime,” Trump said, adding that no Iraqis were killed either.

The president then went on to remind the nation, “For far too long, all the way back to 1979 to be exact, nations have tolerated Iran’s destructive and destabilizing behavior in the Middle East and beyond.

“Those days are over,” Trump stated.

“Iran has been the leading sponsor of terrorism, and their pursuit of nuclear weapons threatens the civilized world. We will never let them happen,” he promised.

Presenting a long laundry list of the murderous crimes carried out by the late Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani, Trump explained, again, why the decision was made to kill him.

“He trained terrorist armies, including Hezbollah, launching terrorist strikes against civilian targets. He fueled bloody civil wars all across the region. He viciously wounded and murdered thousands of US troops, including the planting of roadside bombs that maim and dismember their victims. Soleimani directed the recent attacks on US personnel in Iraq that badly wounded four service members and killed one American, and he orchestrated the violent assault on the US Embassy in Baghdad. In recent days he was planning new attacks on American targets, but we stopped him,” the president said.

“Soleimani’s hands were drenched in both American and Iranian blood. He should have been terminated long ago,” Trump added. “By removing Soleimani we have sent a powerful message to terrorists: If you value your own life you will not threaten the lives of our people.”

There are a number of actions the Trump administration is taking in response to Iran’s attack on the American forces in Iraq Wednesday morning.

• Additional “punishing” economic sanctions will be immediately imposed on the Iranian regime. “These powerful sanctions will remain until Iran changes its behavior,” Trump said. He also noted, “The missiles fired last night at us and our allies were paid for with the funds made available by the last administration.

• The Trump administration is calling for the UK, Germany, France, Russia and China to “break away from the remnants of the JCPOA” and join the US toward “making a deal with Iran that makes the world a safer and more peaceful place. “The very defective JCPOA expires shortly anyway and gives Iran a clear and quick path to nuclear breakout,” he pointed out.

• The Trump administration is also asking NATO to become “much more involved” in the Middle East process. “The civilized world must sent a clear and unified message to the Iranian regime – Your campaign of terror, murder and mayhem will not be tolerated any longer. It will not be allowed to go forward.

• Trump called on the Iranian leadership to recognize that ISIS is a natural enemy of Iran, and to join with the United States in destroying the remnants of the terrorist group. “The destruction of ISIS is good for Iran and we should work together on this and other shared priorities,” the president said.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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