The United States and Saudi Arabia have boosted vigilance following intel shared between the two nations that Iran could be preparing for an impending attack in the Middle East, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday. Following the warning, the National Security Council has asserted that while it is concerned about the looming threat, it will actively respond in defence if the attack happens.
“We are concerned about the threat picture, and we remain in constant contact through military and intelligence channels with the Saudis. We will not hesitate to act in the defense of our interests and partners in the region,” the government agency said in a statement.
One of the three unnamed US officials who confirmed that the intel was exchanged, said that the imminent attack could occur “soon or within 48 hours.” While no US consulates in the Middle East have taken issued responses or guidelines yet, both the US and Saudi Arabia remain on high alert. Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder revealed that officials of the US military “are concerned about the threat situation in the region.”
“We’re in regular contact with our Saudi partners, in terms of what information they may have to provide on that front. But what we’ve said before, and I’ll repeat it, is that we will reserve the right to protect and defend ourselves no matter where our forces are serving, whether in Iraq or elsewhere,” Ryder said. State Department spokesperson Ned Price also commented on the warning and said that the US was “concerned about the threat picture.”
The tensions between Iran and the US
The warning comes as the United States continues to condemn Iran for its involvement in two of the world’s biggest crises at the moment- the crackdown on anti-hijab protesters, and the use of Iranian drones in Russia’s war against Ukraine. The threat also comes amid retaliation by Iran, which has accused the US and other rival nations of instigating protests in the country.
Fueling the conflict are sanctions, that have been imposed by the Biden administration on Iranian officials for the lethal crackdown on protesters who have taken to the streets after 22-year-old Mahsa Amini was arrested by Iran’s morality police for allegedly wearing her hijab improperly, and later died in custody.