WASHINGTON, Jan 9 (Reuters) – Iran will face severe consequences if it attacks Americans, the White House said on Sunday, including any of those sanctioned by Tehran for the 2020 killing of General Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike.
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Iran’s sanctions on Saturday came as Tehran’s proxy militias continue to attack American troops in the Middle East.
“We will work with our allies and partners to deter and respond to any attacks carried out by Iran,” 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.”
Iran on Saturday imposed sanctions on dozens more Americans, many of them from the U.S. military, over the 2020 killing of Soleimani.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry said 51 Americans had been targeted for what it called “terrorism” and human rights violations. The step lets Iranian authorities seize any assets they hold in Iran, but the apparent absence of such assets means it will likely be symbolic.
It was not clear why Sullivan’s statement referred to 52 people when Tehran said it had sanctioned 51.
Iran’s sanctions included U.S. General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It also included former White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien.
Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s Quds Force, the overseas arm of the elite Revolutionary Guards, was killed in Iraq in a drone strike on Jan. 3, 2020, ordered by then President Donald Trump.
A year ago, Iran imposed sanctions on Trump and several senior U.S. officials.
Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Bill Berkrot