Biden: US Will Retaliate Against Iran's Actions, Be It 'Drone Strikes or Anything Else'
19:48 GMT 31.10.2021 (Updated: 12:06 GMT 20.11.2021)
Earlier this week, the US Treasury stated that fresh sanctions had been imposed against Iran's unmanned aerial vehicle programme and its chief executive.
Speaking at a press conference on the results of the G20 in Rome, US President Joe Biden said that Washington will retaliate against any actions Iran may undertake "against the interests of the US".
"With regard to the issue of how we're going to respond to actions taken by them against the interests of the United States — whether they're drone strikes or anything else — is we're going to respond, and we're going to continue to respond", Biden told reporters on Sunday.
The statement comes after a drone attack was carried out against the at-Tanf military base in Syria last week, for which no country or group has taken responsibility.
US media previously claimed, citing anonymous military officials, that Iran allegedly funded, facilitated, and encouraged the recent drone strike on the at-Tanf facility, where American troops are stationed
(though Damascus has repeatedly condemned America's illegal military presence in the country).
22 October 2021, 18:39 GMT
In late June, Biden authorised "defensive precision airstrikes"
along the Iraq-Syria border, hitting facilities allegedly used by Iranian-backed militants. The strikes were claimed to be in reprisal for prior attacks that targeted US facilities and personnel in Iraq.
Biden Believes in Nuclear Deal While Imposing Sanctions
Furthermore, Biden said that a return to the nuclear deal would depend on Iran's actions, as well as pressure from US allies. He also noted that such pressure could include economic leverage for Iran to pay the economic price for refusing to return to the deal.
Biden also had an earlier meeting with the leaders of the three Western European Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) members, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, on Iran's nuclear operations, which, according to the leaders, represent a threat to international security.
"We came together to reiterate our shared belief that diplomacy is the best way to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon and discussed how best to encourage Iran to resume serious good faith negotiations", Biden said at the press conference, per the report.
In a joint statement issued after the meeting, the leaders expressed their “determination to ensure that Iran can never develop or acquire a nuclear weapon". The leaders shared "our grave and growing concern" that Iran "has accelerated the pace of provocative nuclear steps" after it halted negotiations on a return to the JCPOA.
30 October 2021, 16:49 GMT
For their part, the European leaders hailed Biden's "clearly demonstrated commitment to return the US to full compliance with the JCPOA and to stay in full compliance, so long as Iran does the same". The European troika added that a return to the accord was still conceivable and could be done quickly.
On Saturday, the Israel Defence Forces shared a video
of Israeli F-15 fighter jets escorting a US B-1B bomber through Israeli skies, which was considered an apparent demonstration of force to Iran amid heightened ongoing tensions.
Also during that day, other Mideast nations joined the American bomber "in support of a Presence Patrol" in Middle Eastern skies.
Just as the US imposed new sanctions
against Iran on Friday, targeting four people and two organisations that the US believes are in charge of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Aerospace Force's drone operations in other countries, Iran's Foreign Ministry lambasted the decision, claiming that the measures contradict Washington's promises of wanting to return to the JCPOA.
29 October 2021, 18:24 GMT
The new measures are the most recent in a series of more than 1,000 imposed by the US against Iran in recent years, and they come ahead of efforts by both countries to resume the stalled talks on the JCPOA in Vienna.
Also earlier this week, prior to the announcement of new sanctions, Ali Baqeri-Kani, Iran's senior nuclear negotiator, declared that Tehran would return to the Vienna negotiations before the end of November.
In May 2018, under then-President Trump, the US unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA, causing Iran to grant the agreement's Western European signatories a one-year window to try to devise a way to circumvent America's crippling energy and banking sanctions.
When this failed, Iran began increasing its uranium enrichment and stockpile activities outside the JCPOA's limits, while insisting that its nuclear programme is completely benign.