WASHINGTON: President Joe Biden said on Tuesday he had decided on a response to a deadly drone strike on US forces in Jordan but said he did not seek a wider war in the Middle East.
Facing growing pressure in an election year, Biden said he held Iran responsible for supplying the weapons to the people who carried out the attack that killed three US troops.
Biden, who was hitting the campaign trail in Florida, has previously blamed Iran-backed militias for the first fatal attack on US troops in the region since the Israel-Hamas war broke out in October.
“Yes,” Biden told reporters at the White House when asked if he had decided on his response, but he did not give further details on what actions he would take.
“I don’t think we need a wider war in the Middle East. That’s not what I’m looking for,” he added when asked about fears that taking on Iran could inflame a broader conflict.
Republicans have urged the 81-year-old Democrat to punish Iran for the drone strike on a US military facility near the Jordanian-Syrian border Sunday, with some urging direct strikes on Iran itself.
But Biden’s administration believes hitting Iranian territory could cause the region to erupt, with strikes on Iranian-backed militias and possibly on Iranian Revolutionary Guard facilities in other countries more likely, US media reported.
The White House on Monday promised a “very consequential” response.