White House Denies Iran Gave Biden Heads-Up on Israel Attack

The White House on Monday denied reports Iran gave President Joe Biden advance warning of its massive weekend attack on Israel, and even obtained Biden’s tacit approval for a limited assault on a vital U.S. ally.

“Iran never gave us a message giving us the time or the targets. This whole narrative out there that Iran passed us a message about what they were going to do is ridiculous,” White House spokesman John Kirby said at a press briefing on Monday.

Kirby was referring to Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian’s claim on Sunday that Iran gave all of its neighboring countries, plus the United States, 72 hours’ notice that it would attack Israel.

Officials from Turkey, Jordan, and Iraq confirmed they were notified in advance by Iran, and Turkey said it passed its warning along to the United States, a fellow member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

A Turkish diplomatic source told Reuters on Sunday that the Biden administration asked Turkey to pass a message back to Iran, implicitly approving Iran’s attack plan provided its actions were kept “within certain limits.”

“In response, Iran said the reaction would be a response to Israel’s attack on its embassy in Damascus and that it would not go beyond this,” the Turkish source said.

Unnamed administration officials immediately pushed back against Amirabdollahian’s statement, although they seem more reluctant to claim Turkey is lying about forwarding its warning to Washington.

“We received a message from the Iranians as this was ongoing, through the Swiss. This was basically suggesting that they were finished after this, but it was still an ongoing attack. So that was (their) message to us,” one Biden administration official claimed on Sunday.

The Biden administration’s responses seem carefully tailored to deny that Iran provided an exact list of targets, while not explicitly denying that Iran issued a general heads-up, along with promises not to escalate the conflict.

In public, President Biden claimed his administration was “devoted to the defense of Israel” before the attack, at the now-infamous press conference on Friday in which he sternly told Iran: “Don’t.” Iran, of course, did.

At his press conference on Monday, Kirby also made a limited denial of reports that Biden pressured Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to respond to Iran’s attack. Kirby insisted the White House is “not involved” in Israel’s “decision-making process about a potential response.”

In the next breath, however, Kirby admitted Biden urged Netanyahu to bask in the success of a coordinated defense that intercepted 99 percent of Iran’s drones and missiles.

“The president urged the prime minister to think about what that success says all by itself to the rest of the region,” Kirby said.

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