- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 9, 2020

Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday said the administration believes that Iran was trying to kill Americans when the country launched ballistic missiles at Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops earlier this week.

“The ballistic missiles fired at American bases … we believe were intended to kill Americans,” Mr. Pence said on NBC’s “Today” program. “We have intelligence to support that was the intention of the Iranians.”

Mr. Pence had been asked if Iran was deliberately trying to avoid U.S. casualties with the strikes.

“But frankly, thanks to the excellent work of our military personnel on the ground, the force protection that President Trump directed, measures that were taken, and our intelligence, there were no American casualties, there were no coalition casualties,” he said. “We continue to believe that Iran is standing down.”

Asked if it was risky to let Iran “take the shot,” Mr. Pence said: “No, not at all.”

“When we had information of an imminent threat of a larger attack being ordered by Qassem Soleimani, the president took action,” he said. “And all along the way, we’ve heard the threats, we’ve been prepared.”

“And frankly the action that we took wasn’t simply hunkering down. … Let’s be clear, our military personnel repositioned people, we repositioned assets,” he said. “We made sure we were as safe as we could be.

“But we also made it very clear that as President Trump said in his tweets and [in] statements that any loss of American lives would be met with strong repercussions,” he said.

Mr. Trump on Wednesday said that Iran appears to be standing down from a further military confrontation. The missile attack was an apparent response to the airstrike last week that killed Soleimani, a top Iranian general.

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