U.S. Won’t Support Retaliatory Strike on Iran

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President Joe Biden urged Israel not to launch a counter-strike against Iran, telling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the U.S. will not participate in one. Iran on Saturday launched drones and missiles to attack Israel — most of which were intercepted by forces from the U.S., Israel, and other countries in the region.

In a phone call with Netanyahu late Saturday, Biden told Netanyahu, “You got a win. Take the win,” according to a senior U.S. official who spoke with Axios. Biden further told Netanyahu that the U.S. would not support a retaliatory strike against Iran. Iran launched the attacks in response to Israel killing some of its senior generals in Damascus, Syria.

“I told Prime Minister Netanyahu that Israel demonstrated a remarkable capacity to defend against and defeat even unprecedented attacks — sending a clear message to its foes that they cannot effectively threaten the security of Israel,” Biden said in a statement following the call.

In a conversation with Israel’s minister of defense, Yoav Gallant, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said that Israel should notify the U.S. before it makes any response against Iran, Axios also reported.

Speaking on CNN’s State of the Union, John Kirby, the White House national security spokesman, said that the fact Israel was able to avoid widespread destruction proves Israel’s “military superiority” and demonstrates that Iran is not “military power that they claim to be.”

“This was an incredible success, really proving Israel’s military superiority and just as critically, their diplomatic superiority, that they have friends in the region, that they have around the world that are willing to help them,” Kirby told Jake Tapper.

Leaders in Europe and the Middle East have urged both parties to exercise restraint. “I call on Iran and its proxies to immediately cease these attacks,” European Union President Ursula von der Leyen said. “All actors must now refrain from further escalation and work to restore stability in the region.”

The foreign ministries in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates called for both sides to prevent escalation, according to The New York Times.

Iranian leaders said that the country’s military response to Israel has concluded and it is not seeking further escalation unless Israel responds with force. Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said on social media, per The New York Times, that “at this point, the Islamic Republic of Iran has no intention of continuing defensive operations, but if necessary it will not hesitate to protect its legitimate interests against any new aggression.”

Despite the Biden administration urging restraint, some Republicans are pressing for reprisal, even though it means escalating the conflict. “We must move quickly and launch aggressive retaliatory strikes on Iran,” GOP Sen. Marsha Blackburn tweeted Saturday.

Senator Marco Rubio also called for retaliation. “Israel has a very clear military doctrine, and that is that they respond to attacks… with something much more severe,” the Florida Republican told Tapper on Sunday. “I expect that they will respond. I don’t think they’re gonna ask us, nor do they need us to help them in that regard.”

Rep. Mike Lawler advocated for “victory at all costs” against Iran and cutting off Iran’s “funding source” in an interview Saturday night on CNN. “We absolutely need to work with the Israelis to take out Iran’s nuclear capabilities. This is a grave threat. The world is in the most precarious place since World War II. We cannot be a bunch of Neville Chamberlains in this moment. We must be Winston Churchill. Victory at all costs. Israel must defend themselves,” the New York congressman said. “And to all my colleagues in Congress who’ve been calling for [a] ceasefire… that have been seeking regime change in Israel: Enough. Get behind the Israeli government. Work together to ensure the free world is victorious. Because if not, the consequences will be dire across the globe.”

Iran has denied seeking nuclear weapons, but IAEA chief Rafael Grossi said in February that the country has shown a “trend of constant increase in inventory of highly enriched uranium” that can be used in nuclear weapons. Grossi added that the Iran nuclear deal negotiated by President Barack Obama and ended by President Donald Trump has “all but disintegrated.”

John Bolton, who last served as President Donald Trump’s national security advisor, called for eliminating Iran’s nuclear arsenal and said that Israel’s response to Iran’s aggression should be “far stronger.”

“Israel’s response — and there should be a response — should not be proportionate. It should be far stronger,” Bolton told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Saturday, adding, “This is the opportunity to destroy Iran’s nuclear weapons program.”

At least one Democrat has also called for counter-strikes. Sen. John Fetterman, who has been a staunch ally of Israel, told Tapper on State of the Union that he disagreed with Biden telling Netanyahu not to counter-attack Iran. “We should follow and have Israel’s back,” the Pennsylvania senator said.


Donald Trump addressed the conflict during a speech at a Saturday rally and a post on Truth Social, claiming that Iran’s attack on Israel “would not have happened if we were in office.”

But Bolton shot down Trump’s claim. “I just think Trump is delusional on this point,” he said on CNN. “It’s a point that nobody can refute or confirm one way or the other. He doesn’t have any idea what to do in the Middle East in this situation.”

Source link: https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/biden-netanyahu-no-retaliation-iran-israel-1235004353/

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