An Iranian official on Tuesday night warned that the country will retaliate against any attack, hours after President Joe Biden said he has made a decision on how to respond to the killing of three U.S. soldiers in Jordan in a drone attack by Iran-backed militants.
Amir Saeid Iravani, Iran’s envoy to the U.N., told reporters that giving a “strong response to enemies” who target the country is “the fundamental policy of Iran,” the state-controlled Islamic Republic News Agency reported.
Iravani said any attacks on “Iran’s territory, or its interests or citizens abroad” will face a “decisive response.”
The diplomat also told reporters that no messages have been exchanged between Iran and the U.S. on the matter, dismissing reports of the two countries communicating via intermediaries.
Iravani also wrote to the U.N. Security Council president saying his country is not responsible for the actions of any person or group in the region where the U.S. troops were attacked.
Earlier Tuesday, while departing the White House, Biden answered a reporter’s question on whether he had decided on a response to the Jordan base drone attack with a “yes.”
Before leaving the White House for a campaign event on Monday, Biden said: “I don’t think we need a wider war in the Middle East…That’s not what I’m looking for.”
Three U.S. soldiers were killed and at least 25 others were injured on Sunday after a drone strike targeted Tower 22, a small military outpost in northeast Jordan, near the borders of Iraq and Syria. The U.S. and its allies strongly condemned the attack, which Biden blamed on “radical Iran-backed militant groups operating in Syria and Iraq.” The president also said the U.S. would retaliate against the perpetrators of the attack at “a time and in a manner our choosing.” Tehran, however, rejected allegations about its involvement, saying “resistance groups in the region do not take orders from…Iran in their decisions and actions.” The Iranian foreign ministry said it is not involved in the militant groups’ decision on how “they support the Palestinian nation or defend themselves and the people of their countries in the face of any aggression and occupation.”
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Citing an unnamed U.S. official, ABC News reported that the U.S. response to the attacks will be spread out over several days and involve strikes on “multiple targets.” It is unclear if any of the targets in question are on Iranian soil.
In an unexpected move, Iran-backed militant group Kata’ib Hezbollah announced it was pausing military operations targeting U.S. forces on Tuesday. The group operates out of Iraq and has been blamed for carrying out Sunday’s strike and several other attacks on U.S. forces in the region. The militant group said it was halting military operations “in order to prevent embarrassment to the Iraqi government.” The statement also repeated many of Tehran’s claims, adding: “Our brothers…especially in the Islamic Republic of Iran, they do not know how we conduct our Jihad, and they often object to the pressure and escalation against the American occupation forces in Iraq and Syria.”