A senior White House official is speaking out this week to warn that Iran’s imposition of “sanctions” on dozens of Americans is essentially an assassination threat on members of former President Donald Trump’s administration.
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan warned that there will be “severe consequences” for Iran for this.
“Make no mistake: the United States of America will protect and defend its citizens,” Sullivan said, according to The Washington Examiner. “This includes those serving the United States now and those who formerly served.”
Iranian officials have made no secret of the fact that they would like to kill one of the people involved in the U.S. strike that killed Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Gen. Qassem Soleimani. Marking the second anniversary of his death last week, Iran used rhetoric and unveiled some economic sanctions that U.S. observers take as a proxy for a threat of violence.
“Wherever it is needed, we will provide for the basis of revenge against the Americans from within their houses and by people by their side without us being present,” IRGC Quds Force Commander Sardar Esmail Qaani said in a statement published by Iranian media. “If wise people in America are found who deal with those who committed the atrocity of assassinating Commander Soleimani, this action will be much less burdensome for America than if the offspring of the Resistance Front, who know no bounds, to themselves go and take this revenge.”
American observers said that this statement only sharpens the point of the economic sanctions unveiled by Iran.
“In essence, a government official in the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism invited Americans to partake in domestic terrorism against one another,” said Foundation for Defense of Democracies senior fellow Behnam Ben Taleblu, who translated the Iranian general’s remarks. “The Islamic Republic has tried to use intimidation, harassment, the threat of violence, as well as actual violence, to include kidnapping, terror, and assassination, to silence critics abroad for four decades. In this regard, its latest ‘sanctions’ can be seen as another vector in its terror campaign.”
Sullivan fired back at Iran by saying that the U.S. will retaliate against any operation of this kind.
“We will work with our allies and partners to deter and respond to any attacks carried out by Iran,” he said. “Should Iran attack any of our nationals, including any of the 52 people named yesterday, it will face severe consequences.
Sullivan went on to add that officials in Iran should not mistake intra-American disagreements about the wisdom of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal as a sign that violence against Trump officials will be tolerated.
“As Americans, we have our disagreements on politics,” he said. “We have our disagreements on Iran policy. But we are united in our resolve against threats and provocations. We are united in the defense of our people.”