John Kirby Says US Not Seeking Escalation After Iran Attack, But Defense For Israel Will Continue

[Screenshot/NBC News/"Meet the Press"]

Hailey Gomez General Assignment Reporter
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White House national security spokesperson John Kirby stated Sunday on NBC News the U.S. is not seeking escalation after Iran’s attack against Israel over the weekend. He noted, however, that defensive support of Israel will continue.

Kirby appeared on “Meet the Press” to discuss Saturday’s attack by Iran against Israel. Iran launched nearly 300 explosive one-way attack drones, which the U.S. and other partners helped to shoot down. NBC host Kristen Welker questioned Kirby on the situation which Iran stated is over, while Israel believes otherwise. (RELATED: US Shoots Down Iranian Drones Targeting Israel)

“Where things stand this morning is just an incredible military achievement by Israel and, quite frankly, the United States and other partners that helped Israel defend itself against more than 300 drones and missiles. It’s just an extraordinary example of military superiority that Israel demonstrated to the whole world last night. And I think Israel also demonstrated that it has friends, that it’s not standing alone [and] that it’s not isolated on the world stage,” Kirby stated.

“Now whether and how the Israelis will respond, that’s going to be up to them — we understand that and respect that. But the president’s been very clear: we don’t seek a war with Iran, we’re not looking for escalation here. We will continue to help Israel defend itself.”

In response to Welker pressing about possible threats to U.S. troops within the region, Kirby stated the administration has “not seen any attacks” on troops or personnel but will continue to monitor “very, very closely.” Welker then pressed the national security spokesman on if the U.S had “back channel communications” with Iran.

“Not in terms of the operations, but obviously in the lead-up to what happened yesterday —” Kirby began to state.

“So there were back channel communications?” Welker asked.

“I would just say we made it very clear to all parties, including Iran: what we would do and how we would continue to defend Israel and also how seriously we would take any potential threat to our personnel and facilities in the region,” Kirby stated.

While Kirby began to reiterate that the U.S. isn’t seeking escalation, Welker questioned the national security spokesman on his response to Americans who watched the events unfold Saturday night and believes it “has already escalated.”

“I would ask the Americans that saw what happened last night to take heart in terms of the military capability of their forces in the region, how they are defending themselves and defending our interests in the region. And also, I reiterate what I said before: know that the president is working the diplomatic side of this personally. In fact, today, just a little bit later today, he’s going to call the G7 together to talk about a diplomatic response here,” Kirby stated.

Following the attack against Israel, President Joe Biden released a statement Saturday night. Biden noted the United States’s defense of Israel, and that he would be convening “G7 leaders to coordinate a united diplomatic response to Iran’s brazen attack.” The Biden administration previously had concerns over an attack against Israel in response to an April 1, 2024 Israeli airstrike. The strike reportedly hit an Iranian consulate, killing a senior Iranian military commander, Al Arabiya English.

Reports indicated Sunday an estimated 300 drones were launched from Iran, Iraq, Syria and Yemen in an attempt to strike Israel after increased tensions in the region, according to NBC News. Israel later confirmed 99% of the drones and cruise and ballistic missiles were shot down, with only minor damage being inflicted on a single Israeli military base, CBS News reported.