Initial assessments indicate that no Americans were killed in Iranian strikes, so President Trump may not feel the pressure to punch back.
WASHINGTON — After the United States and Iran stormed to the edge of a cliff this week, early indications suggest that the two countries apparently have decided they do not want to jump, at least not yet.
With initial battle assessments indicating that no Americans were killed in Iranian strikes on two military bases in Iraq early Wednesday, President Trump may not feel the punch-back-or-lose-face pressure he would have confronted with high troop casualties.
Iran’s foreign minister announced after the attacks that the nation had “concluded proportionate measures” in its retaliation for the killing of the country’s most revered military general in an American drone strike last week.LIVE UPDATESFollow the Iran-United States conflict.
Mr. Trump, speaking from the White House on Wednesday morning, repeated a pledge to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon — but did not order additional use of force. He vowed to impose more sanctions but also said that “the United States is ready to embrace peace with all who seek it.”
One administration official said the hope now was for de-escalation. “So far, so good,” Mr. Trump said on Twitter.
Though Iranian officials said their military response had ended, American troops in the region continued to fortify their positions in case of another attack, one military officer in Baghdad said.
A war with Iran would look nothing like any conflict this generation has witnessed, national security and military experts say. It would be felt aboard oil tankers making their way through the Strait of Hormuz and at gas stations in Kansas, in hotels and public plazas in Paris, and in the mosques in the United Arab Emirates.
As budget-shattering and far-reaching as the war with Iraq has been, one with Iran would be far worse.
Any assumption that the Iranian people would welcome an American toppling of their government does not take into account the deep pride that many Iranians have in their national identity, an outpouring that has surfaced in the stampede in Iran during Tuesday’s funeral procession for Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the Iranian military commander killed in an American airstrike last week, experts said. More than 50 people died as millions flooded the streets to mourn him.
“Iranians are nationalistic and would view this as a war being imposed upon them by someone who they see as deliberately picking a fight with them,” said Vali R. Nasr, an Iranian-American and a former senior adviser at the State Department. “And they would support hitting back.”