The U.S said on Wednesday that it was "putting Iran on notice,” in response to what National Security Adviser Michael Flynn described as its "provocative ballistic missile launch and an attack against a Saudi naval vessel conducted by Iran-supported Houthi militants.”
"Iran is rapidly taking over more and more of Iraq even after the U.S. has squandered three trillion dollars there. Obvious long ago!”, said President Donald Trump on Twitter.
In a strongly worded statement, Mr. Flynn said Iran continued "to threaten U.S. friends and allies in the region,” and accused the previous Obama administration of "failing to respond adequately to Tehran’s malign actions — including weapons transfers, support for terrorism, and other violations of international norms.”
‘Military option not ruled out’
Briefing on the background later in the day, a senior administration official did not rule out the possibility of a military action against Iran. Asked whether the U.S response could "include a military option,” the official said: "We are considering a whole range of options. We’re in a deliberative process.”
While the NSA and the senior administration official struck a combative tone against Iran, they seemed to indicate that the Trump administration had no intention to undermine the nuclear deal with Iran.
"In terms of the JCPOA – (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) for the implementation of the nuclear deal – and the behavior that we're talking about today….we consider them separate and distinct,” said the official who wanted to remain anonymous.
"The recent ballistic missile launch is also in defiance of U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231, which calls upon Iran "not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology,” said Mr. Flynn.
Contrary to the combative tone that Mr. Trump had maintained towards Saudi Arabia during the campaign, his administration’s policy promises to continue with the Obama approach.
Strongly supporting Saudi Arabia, Mr. Flynn said: "..in the past six months in which Houthi forces that Iran has trained and armed have struck Emirati and Saudi vessels, and threatened U.S. and allied vessels transiting the Red Sea.…” He recalled that Mr. Trump had "severely criticized the various agreements reached between Iran and the Obama Administration.”
"Instead of being thankful to the United States for these agreements, Iran is now feeling emboldened. As of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice,” the NSA said.