President Donald Trump’s national security adviser General Michael Flynn delivered a stern warning to Iran, pointing to their “destabilizing behavior” in the Middle East.
Flynn specifically referred to the Iranian regime’s “provocative ballistic launch” after the government conducted a test of a missile, as well as their support of Houthi militants who attacked a Saudi naval vessel.
“As of today we are officially putting Iran on notice,” Flynn said at the White House press briefing on Wednesday.
Flynn’s statement was short, but a senior administration official answered followup questions about the statement to reporters at the White House later in the afternoon.
The official said there was a “large number of options that were available” to the administration and signaled that they would take “appropriate actions” in response to Iran’s behavior.
“We consider these actions to be inherently destabilizing and a threat to our friends and our allies, and it’s counter-productive to the goals of the region,” the official said.
But the official would only confirm that a deliberative process had begun regarding how to respond, and he offered few additional details.
The message, however, was clear — the administration wanted to send a signal that there was a different president in the White House who would have a different relationship with Iran than former President Obama.
“We are considering these things on a different perspective,” the official noted.
The official explained that Gen. Flynn delivered the message because the administration felt that it was important to send it directly from the White House, not through diplomacy at the State Department.
“It reflects the level of importance that this administration believes this issue warrants,” the official explained.