President Donald Trump appeared to back away from renewed military attacks on Iran yesterday after rockets fired at two Iraqi army bases housing US personnel failed to inflict any injuries.
“Iran appears to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties concerned and a very good thing for the world,” Trump told a White House press conference. “No American or Iraqi lives were lost because of the precautions taken, the dispersal of forces, and an early warning system that worked very well.”
The president insisted his administration did not seek further conflict with its adversaries.
“Our missiles are big, powerful accurate lethal and fast. Under construction are many hypersonic missiles,” Trump said. “The fact that we have this great military and equipment, however, it does not mean we have to use it. We do not want to use it.”
Some commentators have speculated that the Iranian attack was not intended to inflict fatalities, as a warning issued in advance by Tehran allowed army personnel to scramble for cover. The missiles reportedly used were also only accurate within a range of 50 metres of the intended target.
However, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, General Mark Milley, said the damage inflicted suggested otherwise.
“I believe, based on what I saw and what I know, that they were intended to cause structural damage, destroy vehicles and equipment and aircraft and to kill personnel. That’s my own personal assessment,” Milley said.
The renewed tensions between the US and Iran’s network of militias remains however, with Baghdad’s Green Zone, where the US embassy is located, being hit by two rockets shortly after the press conference in Washington. No injuries were reported.