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US-Iran tension: Donald Trump says Iran appears to be standing down, slaps more sanctions

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Washington, Jan 08: Amid US-Iran conflict, US President Donald Trump on Wednesday, said that Iran is backing away which is a good sign and added that more "powerful" sanctions will be imposed on Tehran.

Iran appears to be standing down

Addressing the crowd of about 40 in the Grand Foyer of the White House, Trump also vowed that he will never allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon. "As long as I'm President of the United States, Iran will never be allowed to have a nuclear weapon," Trump said.

''No Americans were harmed in last night's attack by the Iranian regime. We suffered no casualties. All our soldiers are safe, only minimal damages were sustained at our military bases,'' he said.

His remarks came hours after Iran launched over a dozen ballistic missiles targeting at least two bases where US military and coalition forces' are stationed in Iraq, which Tehran said was a "slap in the face" of America.

According to Iranian state TV, the attacks were in revenge for the killing of the commander of Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guards, General Qasem Soleimani, in a US drone strike on Friday, which was ordered by Trump.

The Iranian state television claimed that "at least 80 terrorist US soldiers" were killed in the strikes. Some 5,000 US soldiers are in Iraq as part of the international coalition against the IS terror group.

"No Americans were harmed in last night's attack by the Iranian regime," Trump said as he described Gen Soleimani as a "ruthless terrorist."

The US President also said,''We are constructing many hypersonic missiles. The fact that we have this great military and equipment, however, does not mean we have to use it. We do not want to use it.''

Trump had also announced new economic sanctions against Iran and railed against the Obama-era nuclear agreement which he withdrew the United States from during his first formal public remarks since ordering the drone strike of General Suleimani last week.

Trump said that the US would appeal to NATO to become more involved in Middle East process.

In a direct message to the Iranian leaders and the people, Trump tells,''Iran appears to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties concerned. Peace and stability cannot prevail in Middle East as long as Iran continues to foment terrorism.'' "We want you to have a great future. US is ready to embrace peace," Trump said while ending his 10-minute long statement on the Iran missile strike.

His address was the first presidential response to Iran's missile salvo aimed at the US military in Iraq overnight other than a tweet in which Trump said that "all is well!" The Iranian strike was in response to last week's killing by the United States of the country's most important general, Qasem Soleimani.

Initial assessments indicate there were no US casualties in the Iranian missile strikes on two bases in Iraq where US troops are based, the Pentagon said.

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