Donald Trump has said the US airstrike that killed a top Iranian general was designed to prevent a war with Iran – not start one.
The US president claimed Major General Qassem Soleimani had been planning “imminent and sinister attacks on US diplomats and military personnel” before he died in Friday morning’s drone strike in Iraq.
In an address from his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, Mr Trump said: “What the US did yesterday should have been done long ago – a lot of lives would have been saved.
“We took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war.”
Iran immediately threatened a “crushing revenge” after the killing of Maj Gen Soleimani, who headed the overseas arm
of the Revolutionary Guards and spearhead of Iran’s growing military influence in the Middle East.
The Pentagon has said Maj Gen Soleimani, 62, had “orchestrated” attacks on coalition bases in Iraq over the past few months and approved the attacks on the US embassy in Baghdad earlier this week.
But Mr Trump declared that Maj Gen Soleimani’s “reign of terror” was over, adding that he had “made the death of innocent people his sick passion”.