WASHINGTON — President Trump backed away from further military action against Iran and called for renewed diplomacy on Wednesday as the bristling confrontation of the past six days eased in the aftermath of an Iranian missile strike that seemed intended to save face rather than inflict casualties.
“Iran appears to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties concerned and a very good thing for the world,” Mr. Trump said in a televised statement from the Grand Foyer of the White House, flanked by his vice president, cabinet secretaries and senior military officers in their uniforms. “The United States,” he added, “is ready to embrace peace with all who seek it.”
The president seemed as eager as the Iranians to find a way out of a conflict that threatened to spiral out of control into a new full-fledged war in the Middle East. While he excoriated Iran’s “campaign of terror, murder, mayhem” and defended his decision to order a drone strike killing the country’s top security commander, he dropped for now the bombastic threats of escalating force, vowing instead to increase economic sanctions while calling for new negotiations.