The United States said Sunday it fears an escalation of the war between Israel and Hamas and the prospect of Iran getting directly involved.
Speaking on CBS, White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan cited the possibility of a new battle front on the Israel-Lebanon border and added, “We can’t rule out that Iran would choose to get directly engaged some way. We have to prepare for every possible contingency.”
Iran is a long-time backer of the militant group Hamas and of Hezbollah in Lebanon, providing them funding and weapons.
“That is a risk and that’s a risk that we have been mindful of since the start,” Sullivan said of the prospect of Iran getting involved in the war, which was triggered by the Hamas attack on southern Israel from Gaza last weekend.
“It’s why the president moves so rapidly and decisively to get an aircraft carrier into the eastern Mediterranean, to get aircraft into the Gulf, because he sent a very clear message to any state or any actor that would seek to exploit this situation,” Sullivan added.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced the deployment of the second aircraft carrier on Saturday “to deter hostile actions against Israel or any efforts toward widening this war following Hamas’s attack.”
In the eastern Mediterranean the carrier USS Eisenhower and its accompanying ships will join the USS Gerald R. Ford, which was dispatched after the Hamas attack on October 7.