The United States warned Iran Monday that it is not "blind" to the Islamic republic's continued support for the Hamas militant group that launched a deadly surprise attack on Israel this month.
John Kirby, the National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications, made the remarks amid lingering concerns that renewed friction between Washington and Tehran could reduce room for Seoul, a key ally of the US, to engage with Iran for economic cooperation.
Washington has been seeking to verify if there was any Iranian role in Hamas' Oct. 7 attack on Israel, though it has said that it does not have clear evidence of Iranian culpability.
"I would just say that we have never been blind to Iran's destabilizing behaviors and the threats they pose in the region," he said in an online press briefing.
He underlined Washington's efforts to reinforce a military posture in the Middle East, pointing to security concerns stemming from Iran.
"We had bolstered naval and air capabilities in the Gulf region. And it's why we are working so much closer in a more integrated way with our allies and partners in the region trying to pursue. for instance, a regional integrated air and missile defense," he said. "What do you think that's about? It's all about Iran."
The official also stressed that the US has been "very focused" on what Iran is doing.
"We are not blind to the fact that they continue to support groups like Hamas and Hezbollah and these militia groups in Iraq and Syria that have been recently, over the course of the last weekend, attacking some of our facilities and our troops as well as our diplomats," he said.
"We are certainly mindful of the impact that they have and the encouragement that they give to these groups," he added.
Later in a livestream briefing, Kirby said that Tehran's backing for "proxies" is "no secret."
"They've made no secret of it ... funding, resourcing in terms of providing the rockets and the munitions that they fire, training for some of these guys," he said." (Yonhap)