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US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan. Photo: AFP

US ‘refuses to be threatened’ by Iran after regime sanctions 50 Americans

  • ‘Make no mistake: the United States of America will protect and defend its citizens,’ said White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan
  • The Islamic republic on Saturday announced the sanctions for Americans’ role in the death of Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani

Washington said on Sunday it refused to be threatened by Iran’s weekend sanctioning of some 50 Americans including senior officials, warning that Tehran would face “severe consequences” if it attacked any US nationals.

“Make no mistake: the United States of America will protect and defend its citizens,” White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement.

“Should Iran attack any of our nationals, including any of the 52 people named yesterday, it will face severe consequences.”

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. Photo: Iranian Presidency / DPA

The Islamic republic on Saturday announced the sanctions, including on US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, for their role in the death of Qassem Soleimani, a powerful Iranian commander.

Soleimani, leader of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force, was killed by a US drone strike in Baghdad on January 3, 2020, in what Iran on Saturday called a “callous terrorist act.”

Days ago Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi vowed revenge against Donald Trump unless the former US president is tried over Soleimani’s killing, as Tehran marked two years since the revered commander’s death.

In addition to Milley, the sanctioned Americans include Trump-era national security adviser Robert O’Brien and Nikki Haley, who served as US envoy to the United Nations.

“Looks like I’ll have to cancel my relaxing getaway to Iran,” tweeted Haley.

“When you get sanctioned by Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terror, you know you’re doing something right.”

Iran vows revenge unless Trump tried for Soleimani killing

Sullivan in his statement said that while Americans have disagreements on politics and on Iran policy, “we are united in our resolve against threats and provocations (and) we are united in the defence of our people.”

The United States, he added, will work with allies “to deter and respond to any attacks carried out by Iran.”

Washington and other world powers are currently engaged in closed-door talks with Iran in Vienna aimed at reviving a 2015 nuclear deal that was mothballed in 2018 when Trump pulled the United States out of the agreement and slapped punishing sanctions on the regime.