U.S. says 'our actions have been purely defensive,' pushes for ceasefire in Gaza

In the U.N. Security Council emergency meeting on Sunday, the United States said its actions to aid Israel against Iranian attacks were “purely defensive.”

“The United States will explore additional measures to hold Iran accountable here at the United Nations,” said Robert Wood, U.S. deputy ambassador to the U.N. “More immediately, the Security Council must unequivocally condemn Iran’s aggressive actions and call for Iran and its partners and proxies to cease their attacks.”

Video Transcript

ROBERT A. WOOD: Given the threat Iran's aggressive actions pose for international peace and security, we have a collective responsibility as members of the Security Council to ensure that Iran complies with the Council's resolutions and ceases its violations of the charter. In the coming days, and in consultation with other member states, the United States will explore additional measures to hold Iran accountable here at the United Nations.

More immediately, the Security Council must unequivocally condemn Iran's aggressive actions and call for Iran and its partners and proxies to cease their attacks. The United States also supports Israel's exercise of its inherent right to defend itself in the face of this attack. And as President Biden stated, we will remain in close contact with Israel's leaders. And let me be clear-- if Iran or its proxies take actions against the United States or further action against Israel, Iran will be held responsible.

We note Secretary-General Guterres's statement warning that the region is at risk of plunging into a deeper and wider war on multiple fronts. The United States is not seeking escalation. Our actions have been purely defensive in nature. The best way to prevent such escalation is an unambiguous condemnation from the Council of Iran's unprecedented large-scale attack and an unequivocal call on it and its proxies and partners to refrain from further violence.