Iran denies Khamenei received warning from Biden on targeting US troops in Mideast

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An Iranian official on Thursday denied comments made by US President Joe Biden saying he had warned Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei about attacks on US forces in the Middle East.

Biden said on Wednesday that he had warned Iran’s supreme leader that if Tehran continued to “move against” US forces in the region, Washington would respond.

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“My warning to the Ayatollah (Khamenei) was that if they continue to move against those troops, we will respond. And he should be prepared,” said Biden during a press conference alongside Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in the White House Rose Garden.

Mohammad Jamshidi, political deputy at the Iranian president’s office, appeared to acknowledge that messages had been sent from Washington to Tehran, but said that the messages were mere “requests,” not warnings.

“The US messages were neither directed to the leader of the Islamic Revolution (Khamenei) nor were they anything but requests from the Iranian side,” Jamshidi said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“If Biden thinks he has warned Iran, he should ask his team to show him the text of the messages,” he added, writing in English.

US forces in the Middle East have faced a series of drone and missile attacks since the outbreak of the war between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas on October 7.

Militant groups with ties to Iran have threatened to retaliate against US interests over Washington’s support for Israel in its war with Hamas.

The Pentagon said on Tuesday that drones and rockets targeted US and allied forces in Iraq and Syria at least 13 times in the past week.

“Between October 17th and the 24th, US and coalition forces have been attacked at least 10 separate times in Iraq and three separate times in Syria,” Pentagon spokesman Brigadier General Pat Ryder said, referring to the international coalition against ISIS.

Ryder did not identify the responsible groups, but said that they are backed by Iran and its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

The US currently maintains approximately 900 troops in Syria and 2,500 in Iraq as part of efforts to combat ISIS, which previously held significant territory in both countries but was pushed back by local forces with international air support.

The latest escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict began when Hamas militants crossed into Israel from its southern border on October 7, killing more than 1,400 people, according to Israeli officials. Israel has responded with relentless air and artillery strikes on Gaza that have killed more than 7,000 people, according to health authorities in Gaza.

Tehran, a key source of financial and military support for Hamas, praised the October 7 Hamas attack while denying any involvement in its planning or execution.

Israel has long accused Iran of exacerbating violence by supplying arms to Hamas. Tehran refuses to recognize Israel and has made support for the Palestinian cause a fundamental component of its foreign policy since the Islamic Revolution of 1979.

Iran and Israel have for years engaged in a covert conflict, with Iran accusing Israel of orchestrating sabotage attacks and assassinations targeting its nuclear program.

Read more:

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Iran’s Khamenei accuses US of complicity in Israeli ‘crimes’ in Gaza

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