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US won’t rule out attacking Iran: National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan speaks at a press briefing at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 30, 2022. (Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)

A top White House official wouldn’t rule out the option to strike Iran as he indicated Sunday more attacks on militants in the region are coming.

“There will be more action taken to respond to the … tragic death of the three brave U.S. service members,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said on ABC’s “This Week,” referring to Iran-backed militias’ deadly drone strike in Jordan late last month.

“We have to prepare for every contingency,” he continued. “And I would just say, from the perspective of Tehran, if they chose to respond directly to the United States, they would be met with a swift and forceful response from us.”

The comments came after the U.S. and U.K. struck militants in Yemen for the third time in two weeks on Saturday. They were targeting drones, radar facilities and weapon launchers that Iran-backed Houthis have used to attack military and commercial ships in the Red Sea since Israel launched its war on Hamas. The militants say they’re attacking the vital route out of solidarity with Gazans.

From the start of Israel’s fierce response to Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, Washington has feared the prospect of a wider conflict in the Middle East. President Biden has insisted he doesn’t want that.

Pressed on the Iran question on Sunday, Sullivan told NBC’s “Meet the Press,” “I’m not going to get into what we’ve ruled in and ruled out from the point of view of military action.”

“The president is determined to respond forcefully to attacks on our people,” he added. “The president also is not looking for a wider war in the Middle East.”

With some Republican hawks calling for U.S. strikes within Iran, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) said the White House should take a tougher approach to the regional power.

“We should not be appeasing Iran. That’s what the Biden administration has been doing for the last three years. We are projecting weakness on the world stage,” he said on “Meet the Press,” adding that the U.S. should “decimate the Iran Central Bank,” among other steps.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has been leading the chorus of Republican hawks.

“If the goal is to deter Iran, you’re failing miserably. If the goal is to protect American troops, you’re not achieving your goal,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Biden wouldn’t need congressional authorization to target Iran, he added.

“President Biden has all the authority … to protect troops in the field,” the senator said.

Meanwhile, U.S. aid to Israel and other causes has been stalling in Congress.

After a Republican bill that both gave billions to Israel and cut the IRS budget died in the Democrat-controlled Senate in November, Johnson is promising new legislation with no such cuts.

The $17.6 billion price tag actually marks more funding than Biden previously requested. But Dems have been trying to push through funding for multiple causes, like supporting Ukraine, all at once.

“This partisan bill provides no funding for Ukraine to defend itself against Putin’s aggression, the Indo-Pacific, humanitarian assistance for Palestinian civilians, or border security,” House Minority Whip Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) emailed Dems on Sunday, according to Axios.

“The White House is strongly opposed to this bill,” she added.


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