The Biden administration sent a clear message to Iran Tuesday about how the U.S. would respond to any attacks on American forces in the Middle East.
The Pentagon said Iranian-backed proxies have launched at least six confirmed attacks on American military sites in Iraq and Syria over the last week, injuring 24 U.S. military personnel.
During a meeting of the United Nations Security Council, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said the U.S. will respond to provocations by Iran which arms Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and the Houthis in Yemen.
“The United States does not seek conflict with Iran. We do not want this war to widen. But if Iran or its proxies attack U.S. personnel anywhere, make no mistake, we will defend our people. We will defend our security swiftly and decisively,” Blinken said.
Blinken also called on all countries to send a united message to any state or non-state actor that might be considering opening another front in the conflict against Israel or who may target Israel’s partners, including the United States, Reuters reported.
“We urge members to go a step further – make clear that if Iran or its proxies widen this conflict and put more civilians at risk you – you – will hold them accountable,” he said. “Act as if the security and stability of the entire region and beyond is on the line, because it is.”
“Palestinian civilians are not to blame for the carnage committed by Hamas,” Blinken told the 15-member council. “Palestinian civilians must be protected. That means Hamas must cease using them as human shields.”
“It’s hard to think of an act of greater cynicism,” he added.
Iran’s U.N. Ambassador Amir Iravani later accused Blinken of “wrongly” attempting to blame Iran for the Hamas attack, claiming the Islamic Republic is committed to regional peace and security, calling for an immediate cease-fire.
Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi later told members of the media outside of the meeting that the threat of the war spreading was a “real danger.”
“We’re all doing everything we can to stop it. There’s the threat of this expanding into the West Bank, into Lebanon, into other fronts. None of us want that, we’re all working against that,” he said.
The United States is pushing for the adoption of a resolution that would condemn the Hamas attacks in Israel and violence against civilians, and reaffirm Israel’s right to self-defense.
As CBN News reported, the U.S. has already deployed two carrier strike groups, including an amphibious assault group with 2,500 Marines to the region to deter Iran and any of its proxies as the chances of a widening war develop.
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Meanwhile, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki demanded an end to the Israeli airstrikes in Gaza which is under total control of the terrorist group Hamas.
Israel has consistently warned civilians to move to safe areas and to evacuate danger spots. But Hamas keeps launching rockets and hiding its weapons among the civilian population, as well as digging terror tunnels under civilian infrastructure. In some cases, Hamas has reportedly been blocking civilians from evacuating the war zone, using them as human shields to gain international sympathy. Tragically, many Palestinian civilians have become casualties as Israel tries to target Hamas terrorists.
During the U.N. Security Council meeting, Israel’s Foreign Minister Eli Cohen dismissed calls for “proportionality” in the country’s response to Hamas’ surprise massacre of civilians on Oct. 7 that left 1,400 Israelis dead, including 33 Americans, and wounded thousands. In addition, more than 220 Israelis remain hostages of the Palestinian terrorists.
“Tell me, what is a proportionate response for killing of babies, for rape (of) women and burn them, for beheading a child?” Cohen asked. “How can you agree to a cease-fire with someone who swore to kill and destroy your own existence?”
He told the council that the proportionate response to the Oct. 7 massacre is “a total destruction to the last one of the Hamas,” calling the extremist group “the new Nazis.” He stressed: “It is not only Israel’s right to destroy Hamas. It’s our duty.”
Cohen called the Oct. 7 attacks “a wake-up call for the entire free world” against extremism, and he urged “the civilized world to stand united behind Israel to defeat Hamas.”
He warned that today it is Israel, but tomorrow Hamas and its radical allies “will be at everyone’s doorstep,” starting with the West.