The Iranian regime will face “severe consequences” if it attacks Americans, including individuals who have been sanctioned by Tehran over the 2020 targeted killing of Qasem Soleimani, according to a top White House adviser.
After Iran issued sanctions against Americans on Jan. 8, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan issued the warning in a Jan. 9 statement from the White House.
“Yesterday, Iran purported to impose sanctions on 52 Americans. They do so as Iran’s proxy militias continue to attack American troops in the Middle East, and as Iranian officials threaten to carry out terror operations inside the United States and elsewhere around the world,” Sullivan said.
More than 50 Americans were sanctioned by Iran over the killing of Soleimani, who had been in charge of Iran’s Quds Force in early 2020, according to Iran’s Foreign Ministry. They include current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley and then-Trump national security adviser Robert O'Brien.
“Make no mistake: The United States of America will protect and defend its citizens. This includes those serving the United States now and those who formerly served,” Sullivan said, describing Iran’s recent actions as “threats and provocations.”
Meanwhile, several days ago, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said former President Donald Trump should face trial over the death of Soleimani.
At the time, Trump administration officials said it was necessary to take out Soleimani after a series of attacks on U.S. assets in the Middle East, as well as attacks that left hundreds of Americans dead in recent years. They also said at the time that Soleimani was plotting imminent attacks.
“We have our disagreements on Iran policy,” Sullivan said regarding Iran’s recent statements about Trump administration officials. “But we are united in our resolve against threats and provocations. We are united in the defense of our people.
“We will work with our allies and partners to deter and respond to any attacks carried out by Iran. Should Iran attack any of our nationals, including any of the 52 people named yesterday, it will face severe consequences.”
Just days after Soleimani’s death, the Iranian military shot down Ukrainian Airlines Flight PS752 while it was leaving the airport in Tehran, Iran, leaving 176 people dead. It came as Iran launched a barrage of missiles at U.S. military bases in Iraq.
The Iranian regime initially denied that it had shot down the plane, but it later admitted that its military indeed fired missiles at the aircraft after it had been mistaken for a cruise missile.
About a year ago, Iran also imposed sanctions on Trump and several senior U.S. officials.