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US has all targets identified if Americans are threatened - Trump

Trump says Soleimani plotted attacks on US diplomats and military personnel
US President Donald Trump AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
US President Donald Trump
© AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

WASHINGTON, January. /TASS/. The US has already identified all targets if Americans are threatened in response to Washington’s killing of Iranian Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani, US President Donald Trump said in a statement on Friday.

"The US has the best military by far anywhere in the world. We have the best intelligence in the world. If Americans anywhere are threatened, we have all of those targets already fully identified. And I am ready and prepared to take whatever action is necessary. And that in particular refers to Iran," Trump said.

Trump has deemed Iranian Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani "the number one terrorist anywhere in the world". The US leader stated that Soleimani planned imminent attacks against American civilians and soldiers.

"Last night at my direction, the United States military successfully executed a flawless precision strike that killed the number one terrorist anywhere in the world: Qasem Soleimani <…> Soleimani was plotting imminent and sinister attacks on American diplomats and military personnel," the president said.

"But we caught him in the act and terminated him," he added.

"We took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war," Trump stressed.

"I have deep respect for the Iranian people, they are a remarkable people with an incredible heritage and unlimited potential," the president said. "We do not seek regime change, however, the Iranian regime’s aggression in the region, including the use of proxy fighters to destabilize its neighbors must end, and it must end now."

"The future belongs to the people of Iran, those who seek peaceful coexistence and cooperation, not the terrorist warlords who plunder their nation to finance bloodshed abroad," Trump stated.

The Pentagon earlier confirmed that a missile strike near the Baghdad airport killed the head of the Quds Force Qasem Soleimani. The operation was carried out at the direction of US President Donald Trump, the statement said.

According to the Pentagon, the strike was defensive, since it was aimed at protecting US troops in Iraq and other countries. Washington blamed Soleimani for allegedly approving a rally outside the US Embassy in Baghdad earlier this week. The US claims that Soleimani personally approved the recent attacks on US military bases in Iraq and that he is responsible for the deaths of hundreds US troops at the hands of Shi'a armed formations supported by Tehran during the campaign aimed to overthrow Saddam Hussein.