Press TV – US President Donald Trump says his administration will impose new sanctions against Iran and will ask the NATO military alliance to get more involved in the Middle East following Iran’s retaliation for the US assassination of a top Iranian general.
Trump made the comments from the White House on Wednesday after Iran launched more than a dozen missiles on two airbases in Iraq housing US troops.
Trump also called on Britain, Germany, France, Russia and China to break off from the 2015 international nuclear deal with Iran.
Trump, a stern critic of the historic deal, unilaterally pulled Washington out of the JCPOA in May 2018, and unleashed the “toughest ever” sanctions against the Islamic Republic in defiance of global criticism in an attempt to strangle the Iranian oil trade.
The Iranian government announced in a statement on Sunday that the country will no longer observe operational limitations on its nuclear industry, including with regard to the capacity and level of uranium enrichment, the amount of enriched materials as well as research and development.
“As we continue to evaluate options in response to Iranian aggression, the United States will immediately impose additional punishing economic sanctions on the Iranian regime. These powerful sanctions will remain until Iran changes its behavior,” Trump said in his address.
Trump’s latest threat and baseless accusations against Iran comes despite his own massively provocative and unjustified killing of Iran’s most prominent anti-terror commander.
The US military carried out an airstrike on the direction of Trump at Baghdad’s international airport early on Friday, assassinating Iranian Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani and the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, as well as eight other companions.
Early on Wednesday, Iran responded to the assassination of Soleimani, the Middle East’s most prominent anti-terror commander, striking the American airbase of Ain al-Assad in Anbar province in western Iraq and another in Erbil, the capital of Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.
US officials have so far declined to release any information about the damage to their bases or casualties inflicted by the missile strikes.
Iran’s missile attack on US bases in Iraq was in defiance of Trump’s threats to Iran not to retaliate and presents him with the biggest crisis of his presidency to date, according to an editorial by CNN.
“In effect, Iran called President Donald Trump’s bluff, dismissing his warnings that it should not respond to his own massively provocative move of killing” Soleimani, CNN said in its editorial on Wednesday.
In his speech, Trump also said he plans to ask NATO allies to “become much more involved in the Middle East process.”
The US-led NATO military alliance announced Tuesday plans for a temporary withdrawal of some of its troops and personnel from Iraq following America’s assassination of a top anti-terror Iranian military commander in the Arab country.
Trump’s call for NATO’s increased involvement in the Middle East came despite his claim in the same speech that “America has achieved energy independence.”
“We are now the number one producer of oil and natural gas anywhere in the world; we are independent and we do not need Middle East oil,” he boasted.
US Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced in October that the Pentagon would keep some US troops in parts of northeastern Syria near oilfields. The new plan appears to be an attempt by the US to force the Kurds away from the central government in Damascus and retain control over Syria’s oil fields.