There are concerns that the US may be on the brink of war with Iran after an Iranian missile attack on a US base in Iraq. Against this backdrop, President Donald Trump spoke to the American people on Wednesday morning local time. Mr. Trump’s speech lasted about 10 minutes and took no questions. Analysts said Mr. Trump’s comments eased fears of a full-blown conflict between the US and Iran, further cooled risk aversion and sent gold prices sharply lower.
Spot gold closed down after Wednesday’s huge shock, with gold prices in the us falling sharply and briefly approaching the $1,550 per ounce mark. Gold surged to $1, 600 an ounce in early Asian trading on Wednesday, peaking at $1, 611.20 an ounce.
On January 3, a U.S. drone strike over Iraq’s Baghdad international airport killed the commander of Iran’s Quds force, the Islamic revolutionary guard corps. In retaliation, Iran’s Islamic revolutionary guard corps fired dozens of missiles at two us bases in Iraq Thursday.
On the morning of January 8, local time, the US military in Iraq “Assad airbase” came under missile attack. The base is in western Iraq and is home to U.S. and coalition forces. Iran’s Islamic revolutionary guard Corps issued a statement saying the attack on the U.S. base was revenge for the death of Suleiman Suleiman, who was killed in a U.S. airstrike.
On Wednesday, however, President Donald Trump toned down his rhetoric on Iran while extending an olive branch, to the collective relief of financial markets. Safe-haven gold was hit. Spot gold hit an intraday low of $1,551.87 an ounce before settling at $1,556.20.
Trump spoke at the White House, accompanied by vice president mike pence, secretary of state Mike Pompeo, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff of the defense department and other top officials. Here are the key messages from trump’s remarks:
There were no casualties among U.S. forces in the Iranian attack
In his speech, Mr. Trump said that no us military personnel had been injured in the January 8 Iranian missile attack on an Iraqi base and that the base itself had suffered “minimal” damage.
“We have no casualties,” he said. All our soldiers are safe and our military bases have suffered only minor damage.”
Mr. Trump said this was due to precautionary measures taken to “decentralize forces” and improve early warning systems.
This is a very important message. Previous analyses have generally assumed that the number of U.S. casualties from an Iranian missile attack would be a key indicator. If there are no casualties, there may be some “tacit understanding” between the two sides, and if there are heavy casualties, the US side is bound to retaliate strongly.
The United States and Iran have disputed the number of American casualties from the Iranian attack.
Iranian media had reported that the missile attack had killed “80 US personnel” and wounded “more than 200 others”.
“Preliminary estimates indicate that there were heavy casualties on the American side,” Fars news agency quoted an Iranian revolutionary guard source as saying.
But the US media received information from the pentagon that there were zero casualties due to the early warning. Iraq and Britain also said no casualties were reported.
CNN quoted a US official as saying there were no immediate reports of US casualties and the impact was still being assessed.
Iran appears to be easing the situation
Mr. Trump said Iran appeared to be easing the situation less than a day after it attacked a US military base in Iraq.
Mr Trump said the us military was “prepared” for any scenario, but for now “Iran seems to be winding down”.
“It’s good for everyone involved and it’s very good for the world,” Trump said.
Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said on Twitter on Wednesday that his country had defended itself accordingly. “we do not seek an escalation of the war, but we will defend ourselves against any aggression,” he said.
The BBC’s Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen says it now appears that Iran wants to bring this phase of the counter-offensive to a close after a massive display of national anger. The word “done” was chosen carefully, suggesting an end to Iran’s riposte.
America does not need middle eastern oil
Mr. Trump also pointed out that America’s energy security had improved significantly and that it did not need oil supplies from the Middle East.
Mr. Trump said the US did not need Middle East oil because “America is energy independent” when he took office.
“We are now the world’s largest oil and gas producer,” he said. We are energy independent and we do not need middle eastern oil.”
Iran is not allowed to have a nuclear weapon
Mr. Trump has stressed that Iran will not be allowed to have a nuclear weapon as long as he is in office.
“As long as I am President of the United States, Iran will never be allowed to have a nuclear weapon,” Trump said.
He accused Iran of being a prime sponsor of terrorism and of pursuing nuclear weapons that threatened the civilized world, which must not be allowed.
He also announced the immediate imposition of additional punitive economic sanctions against Iran. But Mr. Trump’s central message was that the US would not use military force, telling Iranians and their leaders that “we are ready to embrace peace”.
The United States is imposing new sanctions on Iran
Mr. Trump announced that the US would impose “strong new economic sanctions” on Iran in light of the attacks on US military bases.
Mr. Trump said the tough sanctions would remain in place until Iran “changes its behavior” on the international stage.
“These strong sanctions will remain in place until Iran changes,” he said. In recent months alone, Iran has seized ships in international waters, launched unprovoked attacks on Saudi Arabia and shot down two U.S. drones.”
Willing to negotiate with Iran
Mr. Trump criticized the Iran deal as “very flawed”. Mr. Trump also called on other Allies to “disengage” from the Iran deal. “We must work together to reach a new agreement with Iran that will make the world a safer and more peaceful place,” he said.
Trump said it was time for “Britain, Germany, France, Russia, and China” to leave the Iran nuclear deal; Today he wants NATO to be more involved in the Middle East; The days of tolerating Iran’s behavior for too long are over.
However, Mr. Trump said the US was open to talks with Iran.
“We must work together to reach a deal with Iran that will make the world a safer and more peaceful place,” Trump said. He urged other world powers to break away from the Obama-era Iran nuclear deal and reach a new one.
Mr. Trump said the United States had killed tens of thousands of ISIS terrorists and that ISIS was an enemy of Iran and that we should work together on more common priorities.
America is ready to embrace peace
Mr. Trump also called on the Iranian leader, saying “we want you to have a future, a great future”.
“Finally, let me say to the Iranian people and to Iran’s leaders, we wish you a bright and great future, and you deserve it. A future of harmony at home and harmony with the rest of the world.”
Mr. Trump said the United States has a strong military and military, but that does not necessarily mean the use of force, the United States does not want to use force. American power, whether military or economic, is the best deterrent.
Trump concluded by saying the United States is ready to embrace peace with all nations that seek it.
A CNN analysis said trump delivered an important message to Iran at the end of his speech. Mr. Trump’s comments on an Iranian attack suggest the US may not take military action against Iran in response to a missile attack.