President Donald Trump said Friday that America does not seek “regime change” in Iran, less than a day after the U.S. launched an airstrike that killed the country’s top general, Qasem Soleimani.
But the U.S. is “ready and prepared to take whatever action is necessary” if Iran threatens American lives, Trump added.
“We took action last night to stop a war,” the president said in his first television address since Soleimani’s death was announced Thursday night. “We did not take action to start a war.”
Soleimani “made the death of innocent people his sick passion,” Trump said from his Palm Beach, Florida, resort, Mar-a-Lago. “We caught him in the act and terminated him.”
He took no questions from reporters.
On a call with reporters Friday, National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien described the U.S. strike as a “straightforward decision.”
O’Brien, who was with Trump during the strike, said the U.S. had credible intelligence that Iran was mounting an attack. He did not specify what kind of intelligence the U.S. had.