Less than a day after Iran finally acknowledged that its armed forces unintentionally brought down a Ukrainian jetliner, Iranian authorities' admission of the "unforgivable mistake" has had major reverberations — both in Iran's capital, Tehran, where demonstrators crowded local universities Saturday, and around a stunned world.
The U.S. killing of senior Iranian military commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani left many of America's allies in the Middle East confused and nervous. That includes Saudi Arabia, the top regional rival of Iran.
The Saudi-U.S. relationship has become particularly close since President Trump took office. It could prove to be a double-edged sword for the kingdom, analysts say, as Iran contemplates its next moves. Iran and Saudi Arabia have long battled for regional dominance, and the U.S. has supported the Saudi-led war in Yemen against Iran-backed Houthi forces.
Iran's U.N. ambassador tells NPR that Tehran has no plans to step up a confrontation with the U.S. after it fired missiles at U.S. military bases in Iraq in "a measured, proportionate response" to the assassination of Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
However, Majid Takht Ravanchi, speaking to Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep, says Iran is prepared for further action if the U.S. renews its aggression. He also denied the Trump administration's assertion that Soleimani, the commander of Iran's Quds Force, had been plotting an attack on U.S. persons or interests.
President Trump said that Iran appears "to be standing down" after Tuesday night's missile attack in Iraq and that "the American people should be extremely grateful and happy no Americans were harmed."
Trump, in a nationally televised address from the White House, also announced a new round of what he termed "punishing economic sanctions" against the Iranian government. And he called on NATO to become "much more involved in the Middle East process."
Iran will no longer honor its commitment to limit its enrichment of uranium, stepping away from a key component of the landmark nuclear deal it agreed to with six nations, including the United States, in 2015.
The announcement was reported Sunday in Iranian state media. It marks the latest in the country's retreat from the limitations agreed to in the agreement, known as the JCPOA.