Trump said no Americans were injured in the strikes, which were launched in retaliation for last week’s assassination of Iran’s top military commander Qassem Soleimani.
Significantly, Trump flagged a new deal between Iran and western nations to make the world “a safer and more peaceful place” and urged Britain, Germany, France and Russia to abandon their support for the Obama-era nuclear agreement. Australia is also a supporter of the deal.
Iranian officials earlier said their country did not want war and the attack on US targets on Wednesday has “concluded” its retaliation.
Tehran gave Baghdad advanced warning of the attacks – a revelation that indicates the missile strikes were a piece of theatre designed to show Iranians that the regime has exacted revenge over the assassination but not provoke a full-blown war in the process.
The lack of US casualties suggests Trump has managed to eliminate one of Iran’s most dangerous figures without any immediate cost to American lives. However, the situation remains highly precarious because Iranian proxies could still launch assaults on US or western targets over the coming days and weeks.
Trump delivered a major backhander to Europe in his televised address, urging Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China to abandon their support for the “foolish” Obama-era nuclear agreement. Australia is also a supporter of the deal despite acknowledging its flaws.
He said Iran had “created hell” after signing the deal and warned the agreement’s impending expiration offered the regime a “clear and quick path to nuclear breakout”.
“The time has come for the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia and China to recognise this reality,” Trump said.
“They must break away from the remnants of the Iran deal. And we must all work together toward making a deal with Iran that makes the world a safer and more peaceful place.
“The civilised world must send a clear and unified message to the Iranian regime [that] your campaign of terror, murder and mayhem will not be tolerated any longer.”
“For far too long – all the way back to 1979 to be exact – nations have tolerated Iran’s destructive and destabilising behaviour in the Middle East and beyond. Those days are over.”
The President also revealed he would ask NATO to become “much more involved” in the Middle East but did not offer details of what he would request.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison will convene the national security committee on Thursday to discuss the developments. While a troop withdrawal is on the table, it is believed the national security team will decide to stay the course in Iraq.
The Australian Defence Force has about 350 troops in Iraq and 2000 support personnel in the surrounding area as part of an international coalition to defeat the Islamic State terror group.
More than 5000 US troops remain in Iraq along with other foreign forces as part of a coalition that has trained and backed up Iraqi security forces.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said the ultimate revenge for the drone strike on Soleimani would be driving coalition forces from Iraq.
Baghdad’s parliament, which is heavily influenced by Tehran, voted on Monday to order the expulsion of international forces from the country, including Australia.
The Morrison government has urged the country’s executive to ignore the parliamentary vote and allow troops to stay. It fears any withdrawal could trigger a revival of the Islamic State.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the House of Commons on Wednesday that Iran should
Bevan Shields is the Europe correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.