Sun, 02/04/2024 – 14:45
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan has refused to rule out striking targets in Iran in the wake of repeated strikes on Iran-linked groups across the Middle East.
Speaking to NBC, Sullivan was asked repeatedly if the US was considering attacks inside Iran.
“Well, sitting here today on a national news programme, I’m not going to get into what we’ve ruled in and ruled out from the point of view of military action,” he said.
“What I will say is that the president is determined to respond forcefully to attacks on our people. The president also is not looking for a wider war in the Middle East.”
Pressed again on the question, he continued to avoid a direct answer.
“I’m not going to get into what’s on the table and off the table when it comes to the American response,” he said.
US Central Command (Centcom) released a statement on Friday saying its forces struck more than 85 targets in Iraq and Syria, targeting the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in addition to other affiliated armed groups in the two countries.
“Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force and affiliated militia groups continue to represent a direct threat to the stability of Iraq, the region, and the safety of Americans. We will continue to take action, do whatever is necessary to protect our people, and hold those responsible who threaten their safety,” said Centcom commander General Michael Erik Kurilla.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that the Syria strikes had killed 23 pro-Iran fighters.
The attacks came in response to a drone strike on an American outpost in Jordan that killed three soldiers, which the US blamed on Iran-backed groups.
Iran on Sunday warned that the strikes across the region appeared to “contradict” the stated desire by the leaders of the US and UK that the fighting in Gaza not expand into a regional war.
Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman, Nasser Kanani, said in a statement that the attacks were “in clear contradiction with the repeated claims of Washington and London that they do not want the expansion of war and conflict in the region”.
He said the two countries were “fuelling chaos, disorder, insecurity and instability” by supporting Israel in its war in Gaza, which has so far left at least 27,365 people dead, according to the health ministry in Gaza.