Trump says the US killed a top Iranian general to 'stop a war'


  • President Donald Trump said on Friday that the US airstrike that killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani late Thursday was meant to "stop a war," despite Iranian officials vowing revenge.
  • "We take comfort in knowing that his reign of terror is over," Trump said of Soleimani, adding: "We took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war."
  • Trump saidthat he had "deep respect for the Iranian people" and that while the US did not seek "regime change," Iran's "aggression in the region including the use of proxy fighters to destabilize its neighbors must end, and it must end now."

President Donald Trump said on Friday that the US airstrike that killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani was meant to "stop a war," despite Iranian officials vowing revenge against the US.

On Thursday evening,the Pentagon confirmedthat at Trump's direction, US forces killed Soleimani in an airstrike near Baghdad's airport, drastically inflaming tensions between the US and Iran.

As the leader of the elite and secretive Quds Force of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, which carries out foreign intelligence operations outside of Iran, Soleimaniabetted terrorism and violencethroughout the region for decades. The Pentagon has said he's responsible for the deaths of hundreds of US service members in Iraq and beyond.

"We take comfort in knowing that his reign of terror is over," Trump said of Soleimani, adding: "We took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war."

Aaron Rupar✔@atrupar
Trump, reading a statement in Mar-a-Lago, claims assassinating Soleimani was "to stop a war."
"We took action last night to stop a war. We do not take action to start a war."

Trump saidthat he had "deep respect for the Iranian people" and that while the US did not seek "regime change," Iran's "aggression in the region including the use of proxy fighters to destabilize its neighbors must end, and it must end now."

The strike on Soleimani came after a rocket strike on US coalition forces in Iraq killed a US contractor on December 27, and after attacks on the US Embassy in Baghdad this week, for which the Pentagon blamed Tehran and the Quds Force.

The US has not provided evidence to support the administration's justification for the strike on Thursday that it had intelligence that Soleimaniwas planning more attacks on Americans.

Despite Trump's claim that the strike was not intended to start a war, the US's killing of one of the most important officials in the Iranian military and intelligence community is likely to provoke a strong response from Iran, potentially putting US troops and allied forces in the region in danger.

In the immediate aftermath of the strike on Soleimani, Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said that"harsh retaliation" would be waiting for the US, while a former military official,Mohsen Rezaee, vowedto "take vigorous revenge on America."