White House to send “strong” message of deterrence to Iran

October 30, 2023

The U.S. plans to send a “strong” message of deterrence to Iran amid concerns the Israel-Hamas war could escalate into a wider regional conflict, John Kirby, National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications, told CNN Monday.

“We also take our national security interest writ large in the region very seriously, which is why the president has now employed two aircraft carrier strike groups,” Kirby said, adding, “We’ve got to make sure we send a signal to all actors, not just Iran, but all actors, certainly Iran included, that we will take our national security interest very seriously. We will protect and defend our troops. And we’ll do it at a time in a manner of our choosing.”

The Biden Administration reportedly regards the threat of a wider war as the central challenge of the ongoing crisis in Israel and Gaza.

Over the weekend, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi posted on social media that Israel’s actions in Gaza had “crossed the red lines, and may force everyone to take action.” 

Already tensions between the U.S. and Iran have been aggravated parallel to, if not directly linked to, the Israel-Hamas war. On Thursday two F-16 fighter jets carried out airstrikes on two facilities connected to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and Iranian-backed mlitias in eastern Syria.

While Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin insisted that the strikes were  “narrowly tailored” and in “self-defense,” Iran’s Foreign Minister on that same day warned there would be “uncontrollable consequences” for the U.S. should the Israel-Hamas war spread beyond Gaza. 

Meanwhile, an increase in clashes between Israel and Hezbollah has sparked fears that the Lebanon-based terrorist organization seeks to actively participate in the conflict. 

On Sunday, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said the U.S. sees an “elevated risk” of a spillover from Israel and Gaza into other parts of the Middle East, including Iran.

“We are vigilant, because we are seeing elevated threats against our forces throughout the region and an elevated risk of this conflict spreading to other parts of the region. We are doing everything in our power to deter and prevent that,” Sullivan told CBS News. 

PHOTO: Iran Revolutionary Guard

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