Former intelligence officer: Iran's 'face-saving' missile assault gives Trump leverage

Former intelligence officer Michael Pregent said Wednesday that Iran’s retaliatory assault on two American bases in Iraq gives President TrumpDonald TrumpCapitol fencing starts coming down after 'Justice for J6' rally Netanyahu suggests Biden fell asleep in meeting with Israeli PM Aides try to keep Biden away from unscripted events or long interviews, book claims MORE some leverage on his strategy towards Tehran.

“This face-saving gesture is the right thing,” Pregent, who is now senior fellow at the nonpartisan Hudson Institute, told Hill.TV. “The president has leverage with Iraq and Iran now.”

“The cards are in the president’s hands right now,” he added later. “He’s demonstrated to both Baghdad and Tehran: 'I’m willing to take out your number one general, and Iraq, I’m willing to leave and then sanction your economy.'”

Pregent’s comments come the day after Iranian missile strikes damaged two Iraqi bases housing American soldiers. An unnamed U.S. official told USA Today that an early warning system allowed U.S. forces to find cover shortly before the missiles hit Tuesday night.

Iran's assault followed a U.S. airstrike that killed a top Iranian official, Qassem Soleimani, in Iraq. The U.S. later described the killing of Soleimani as a defensive measure, saying the powerful general was "actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members" in the region. 

Shortly after the Iran launched the missile strike, Trump took to Twitter to address the attacks, saying, “All is well," before adding that he would address the nation about the attacks on Wednesday. 

“Missiles launched from Iran at two military bases located in Iraq. Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far, so good!” Trump tweeted.

"We have the most powerful and well equipped military anywhere in the world, by far! I will be making a statement tomorrow morning," he added.

—Tess Bonn