“Indeed, we do not believe that the consulate was actually the target of this missile attack,” Deputy Secretary Wendy Sherman said, adding that a nuclear deal is “close.”
By World Israel News Staff
Washington does not believe the U.S. consulate in Iraq was the target of the 12 Iranian missiles that hit the building.
In an interview Sunday with Bret Baier of Fox News, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman denied that the 12 Iranian missiles that struck the U.S. consulate in Iraq hours earlier were actually fired at the building.
“This was a very concerning attack, as General [Janck] Keane pointed out,” Sherman conceded.
“Indeed, we do not believe that the consulate was actually the target of this missile attack. We are very glad that our facilities are secure, that everybody’s accounted for, that no one has been hurt or killed.
“But all of that said, this is great concern. There will indeed be a statement, I’m sure, coming out shortly, as well as calls in.
“This was an attack on Iraq’s sovereignty, among other things, and of great concern to all of us,” she said.
Iranian state media agency IRNA reported that the strike was targeting “secret Israeli bases belonging to the Mossad, Israel’s national intelligence agency, although it did not provide any evidence to support that claim.
Baier then asked Sherman if it’s true that the U.S. is closing in on the nuclear deal with Iran.
“Well, I think it’s close, and we would like all of the parties – including Russia, which has indicated it’s got some concerns – to bring this to a close,” Sherman said.
“We are very concerned about what Iran is doing, but imagine these Iranians with a nuclear weapon. We need to get that off the table so we can address their malign behavior in the Middle East, and we will do all of the above, but first we’ve got to get this deal. And it is not yet closed.
Regarding the missile attack on Sunday, Baier noted “the disconnect for the average American watching this happening. As we’re sitting at a table not only with the Iranians but the Russians in Vienna, we are getting fired upon by Iran. You’re saying the target wasn’t the U.S. consulate, but that’s where it ended up.
“Help people get – square this circle, because it doesn’t seem like a lot of people think that we should be doing that [closing the deal],” Baier said.
“It’s hard to understand, I appreciate that,” Sherman replied, “but here’s the deal:
“If Iran has a nuclear weapon, its ability to project power into the Middle East and to deter us, our allies and partners, is enormous. So, President Biden believes very strongly, as does Secretary Blinken, as do I, that we need to make sure that Iran never obtains a nuclear weapon, and then we also need to deal with their malign behavior in the region. But first we’ve got to make sure that they cannot obtain a nuclear weapon.”
The secretary could not say how the deal being negotiated compares with the 2015 agreement, from which former President Donald Trump withdrew three years later.
“I think we don’t know yet. It is not closed; it is not finished. We are urging all parties to do what they need to, and there’s a lot of onus on Iran to decide whether in fact it wants to move forward or not, come into compliance and ensure that Iran never has a nuclear weapon,” she repeated
Sherman continued to speak in general terms when asked how the U.S. will protect Americans threatened by Iran. For example, Baier noted, two Iranians belonging to the Qods Force have been plotting to assassinate former National Security Advisor John Bolton according to the Justice Department.
“And this is The Washington Examiner reporting that the department possess indictable evidence against the Iranians, but the Biden administration resisting publicly indicting the men for fear that it could derail their drive for the nuclear deal with Iran currently nearing completion in Vienna. Do you know that to be true?”
Sherman’s response: “What I know to be true is that we have a responsibility to protect American citizens from harm. We do that every single day, and that is true of all present and past American officials, and that is our highest priority…
“Nothing is being held back. We are going to protect Americans wherever they are however we can.”