Danabak | February 6, 2024 | 0 Comments

National security adviser Jake Sullivan refuses to rule out strikes inside Iran

NBC News – National security adviser Jake Sullivan on Sunday did not rule out strikes inside Iran after the U.S. launched airstrikes Friday targeting Iranian proxies in Iraq and Syria in retaliation for the killing of three American soldiers.

During an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Sullivan was asked by moderator Kristen Welker about whether the U.S. has ruled out strikes inside Iran.

“Well, sitting here today on a national news program, I’m not going to get into what we’ve ruled in and ruled out from the point of view of military action,” he said. “What I will say is that the president is determined to respond forcefully to attacks on our people. The president also is not looking for a wider war in the Middle East.”

“But is it off the table? Are strikes inside Iran off the table?” Welker pressed.

“Again, Kristen, sitting here on television, it would not be wise for me to talk about what we’re ruling in and ruling out,” he replied.

When Welker asked one more time, “So you’re not ruling it out?” Sullivan said, “I’ll just say the same thing one more time.”

“I’m not going to get into what’s on the table and off the table when it comes to the American response,” he continued.

Pivoting to the Israel-Hamas war, Welker asked, “Do you have a full accounting of how many hostages are being held and are still alive?”

Sullivan said the U.S. does not have a “clear picture” of how many hostages are alive or have died.

“You know, we’ve said from the beginning that because of the nature of how Hamas operates inside Gaza, hiding behind the civilian population, burrowing into these tunnels, that we do not and cannot have a clearer picture of exactly how many hostages are still alive and how many have tragically passed away,” he said.

“We’ve learned over the course of this conflict that at least two American citizens passed away on Oct. 7, who we previously thought were hostages,” he added. “So we cannot with any clear sense say the exact number of hostages, but we know that there are many, and we know that it’s our job, day in, day out, to try to bring them home.”

More than 130 hostages who were taken by Hamas militants on Oct. 7 are estimated to be in Gaza, with some presumed dead.

Citing “the perilous circumstances currently facing Israel,” House Speaker Mike Johnson on Saturday announced a stand-alone bill to provide aid to Israel after the Senate reached a tentative immigration deal that it intends to vote on this week.

Asked Sunday whether President Joe Biden would sign the bill if it comes to his desk, Sullivan dismissed it as a “ploy.”

“We regard the ploy — and we see it as a ploy that’s been put forward on the House side right now — as not being a serious effort to deal with the national security challenges America faces,” Sullivan said.

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