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Biden tells Netanyahu that the United States will not participate in any counterstrike against Iran

Biden tells Netanyahu that the United States will not participate in any counterstrike against Iran



CNN

President Joe Biden and senior members of his national security team, seeking to contain the risk of a broader regional war after a barrage of Iranian missiles and drones directed at Israel, told their counterparts that the United States will not engage in any offensive action against Iran. According to American officials familiar with the matter.

in Conversation with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Late Saturday, Biden sought to portray Israel's success in intercepting the Iranian attack as a major victory — while suggesting that an additional Israeli response was not necessary.

A senior administration official said Biden told the Israeli prime minister in his phone call that he should consider Saturday a victory because the Iranian attacks were largely unsuccessful and demonstrated Israel's superior military capability. The United States assessed that “there was no significant damage within Israel itself,” according to a senior US military official.

John Kirby, White House national security spokesman, said on Sunday that the ability to prevent widespread damage is evidence of Israel's “military superiority” and evidence that Iran is not “the military power they claim to be.”

“This was an amazing success, and it really demonstrated Israel's military superiority and, just as importantly, their diplomatic superiority, that they have friends in the region, and that they have all around the world willing to help them,” Kirby told CNN's Jake Tapper. State of the Union.”

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin asked his Israeli counterpart, Minister Yoav Gallant, to notify the United States before any possible response to the Iranian attack, according to another American official.

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Even as US officials assured their counterparts that the final decision on how to respond to Iran rested with Israel, Biden sought to prevent a broader escalation of the conflict.

On Sunday, Biden met with fellow G7 leaders to discuss a “unified diplomatic response” — focusing on non-military measures that would limit the potential for a broader war.

In a joint statement issued after the virtual meeting, G7 members condemned “in the strongest terms” the direct and unprecedented Iranian attack against Israel and expressed their “solidarity and full support for Israel and its people and reaffirmed our commitment to its security.” ”

He added: “With its actions, Iran has set out to destabilize the region and risks provoking uncontrollable regional escalation. “This must be avoided,” the G7 statement said.

A senior administration official later described the leaders' meeting and discussion on Iran as “constructive” and emphasized continued support for Israel.

“We are committed to defending Israel. We will not be part of any response they make. “It's a very consistent policy,” the senior administration official said.

Office of the Israeli Prime Minister

In this photo, posted early Sunday local time, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks by phone with US President Joe Biden. Parts of this image have been blurred by the source.

It remains an open question whether Netanyahu takes Biden's advice. The Iranian retaliatory actions came at a moment of deep tension between the two men over the war in Gaza. Throughout that conflict, the limits of American influence in the Israeli decision-making process were revealed.

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The Biden senior administration said on Sunday that Israel has informed the United States that it “does not seek significant escalation with Iran.”

The senior US administration official said: “The president has been very clear that we will help defend Israel, and he made it clear to the prime minister last night that we must think carefully and strategically about the risks of escalation.”

Iran's decision to launch weapons from its territory towards Israel exacerbates the long-standing hostility between the two countries. There will likely be political pressure from within Israel for some kind of response.

Kirby said the attack – the first launched from Iranian territory against Israel – does not necessarily constitute the beginning of a broader regional war.

“We don't think that's the case and we don't think it should be the case,” he told Tapper, noting that the United States and Israel had a good idea of ​​what Iran was planning to do ahead of time.

Gallant warned on Sunday that the confrontation with Iran continues “It's not over yet.” It is expected that the response options available to the country will be discussed in detail during the Israeli Defense Cabinet meeting.

The commander of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Hossein Salami, warned that Tehran would respond directly if Israel responded, saying that a “new equation” had been created.

Biden met on Saturday with his national security team to get “real-time updates” on the Iranian attack against Israel — which at times led to “tense moments” in the White House Situation Room.

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One of those tense moments occurred when there were more than 100 ballistic missiles in the sky, with a short flight to Israel.

“The results of the defences, of course, were not clear until all was said and done. As the results of the defenses became known, that is, when we knew that the preparations and planning had succeeded, there was little relief.”

US officials spoke of ongoing preparations ahead of the Iranian attack, which had been expected since the suspected Israeli raid on an Iranian diplomatic compound in Syria earlier this month.

The senior administration official said preparations ahead of Saturday's attack began “about two weeks ago,” and included force posture adjustments and ongoing discussions with the Israelis and other partners in the region, among other actions.

After the White House decided that Saturday's attack had been largely defeated, Biden reached out to Netanyahu.

Biden has continued to update it routinely, according to the officials. On Sunday morning, the president gathered his advisors again in the Situation Room, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, Deputy National Security Adviser John Feiner, and Middle East Coordinator Brett McGurk.

This story and headline have been updated with additional reporting.

CNN's Sharon Braithwaite, Radina Gegova, Katherine Nichols and Tamar Michaelis She contributed to this report.