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Updated January 14th, 2024 at 08:26 IST

'We're Well-Prepared': Biden Delivers 'Private Message to Iran Amid Airstrikes on Houthis

US President Joe Biden said that the United States has sent a private message to Tehran that the country is “confident” and “well-prepared”.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and US President Joe Biden
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and US President Joe Biden | Image:AP
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Washington DC - Amid the brewing tensions in the Middle East, US President Joe Biden said that the United States has sent a private message to Tehran that the country is “confident” and “well-prepared”. While speaking to the reporters on the White House lawn on Saturday, the US President hinted at the private conversation providing little to no details about what transpired further, The Guardian reported. The proclamation from Biden came days after the United States unleashed a barrage of strikes against the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen. The fresh round of airstrikes that rocked Yemen on Saturday, struck a Houthi radar facility, raising further fears of a wider regional conflict. Amid the chaos, Iran has been an ardent critic of the West's move and condemned both the United States and the United Kingdom for conducting strikes against the Yemeni militant group. 

“We delivered it privately and we’re confident we’re well-prepared,” Biden told reporters before departing to the Camp David presidential retreat for the weekend, The Guardian reported. In the past, the Biden administration received major flak from Congress for bypassing the electoral body and making the executive decision to conduct the strikes. Biden went on to write a letter to the Congress justifying the strikes. In the letter, the US President called the strikes “necessary”. 

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The letter was addressed to US House Speaker Mike Johnson and Senate President Patty Murry. The letter came to light as the US President faced bipartisan condemnation for bypassing the body and taking such a big measure. “I directed this military action consistent with my responsibility to protect US citizens both at home and abroad and in furtherance of US national security and foreign policy interests, pursuant to my constitutional authority as commander in chief and chief executive and to conduct US foreign relations,” the US President wrote in the letter. “The US took this necessary and proportionate action consistent with international law and in the exercise of the US’ inherent right of self-defence as reflected in Article 51 of the United Nations Charter. The US stands ready to take further action, as necessary and appropriate, to address further threats or attacks,” he added. 

How did the US justify its actions at the United Nations?

During an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Friday, US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield defended the attack and warned that no ship was safe from the Houthi threat in the Red Sea. “These strikes were necessary, and they were proportionate, as you just heard from my UK colleague. They were consistent with international law, and in the exercise of the United States’ inherent right to self-defence, as reflected by Article 51 of the UN Charter. And they were taken only after non-military options proved inadequate to address the threat,” Greenfield said in her opening remarks. “Still, any strike of this nature is a decision the United States does not take lightly. And so, I’d like to walk us through how we reached this moment and discuss the steps that we all must take going forward to de-escalate this situation while upholding navigational rights and freedoms. Because while this coordinated response follows the Houthis’ largest, most complex, and most recent attacks earlier this week, the fact is that the Houthis’ opportunistic attacks on vessels have been escalating since November,” she added. 

The American diplomat insisted that “no one”  present in the room was “immune” from the horrific effects of these attacks and emphasised that the attacks are impacting global trade to a great extent. “And colleagues, no one – no one – in this room is immune from the effects of these attacks. Not even Russia. No one. Whether your ship flies an American flag or the flag of another nation, whether you voted for this week’s resolution or you abstained from it, so long as any one of our ships is vulnerable, all of our ships are vulnerable,” Greenfield remarked. She went on to urge the council to continue urging the militant group to cease their attacks in the Red Sea, adding that this is the only way to ensure stability in the already turbulent region. 

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Published January 14th, 2024 at 08:26 IST

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