WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Donald Trump signaled that tensions with Iran were de-escalating and called for the international community to strike a new deal with the country.
In a White House appearance on Wednesday, Trump said that Iran’s missile strike on two U.S. bases on Monday, retaliation for the U.S. assassination last week of a top Iranian general, did not result in casualties, and he implied that that was deliberate.
“Iran appears to be standing down which is a good thing for all parties concerned,” Trump said.
The president did not threaten new military responses but said he would further intensify already punishing economic sanctions.
Some official Iranian statements have indicated that if the United States did not retaliate for the strike on U.S. bases, the tensions would ease. It’s not clear whether this pledge excluded economic retaliation.
Other Iranian statements suggested that retaliation for the killing last week of Gen. Qassem Soleimani was not yet over.
“They were slapped last night, but such military actions are not enough,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, said on Twitter.
Trump ordered the hit on Soleimani after an escalation in tension in late December between the two countries. Iranian allies attacked a U.S. facility in Iraq and killed a U.S. contractor.
Trump, who pulled out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in 2018, also on Wednesday called on the agreement’s other parties to do the same and open new talks with Iran that would end not only its nuclear capacity but also its sponsorship of terrorism in the region. The 2015 deal focused only on Iran’s nuclear weapons capacity and did not completely remove from Iran a nuclear capability.
“They must now break away from the remnants of the Iran deal,” Trump said of Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China, “and we must all work together toward making a deal with Iran that makes the world safer.”
The other parties have abided by the deal, which trades sanctions relief for rollbacks in Iran’s nuclear program.