Washington: The United States does not seek conflict with Iran despite carrying out strikes on Yemen's Tehran-backed Houthi rebels to stop their attacks on Red Sea shipping, the White House said Friday.
"We're not looking for conflict with Iran. We're not looking to escalate and there's no reason for it to escalate beyond what happened over the last few days," National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told MSNBC.
"That said... we know that Iran supports the Houthis. We know that they're supplying them with the missiles and the drones, the same things they've used to attack shipping.
"And we have made it very clear Iran should stop that support."
- US, UK launch airstrikes on Houthi rebel targets in Yemen in 'defensive action'
- Oil tanker in Gulf of Oman boarded by men in military uniforms in apparent seizure in Mideast waters
- UN Security Council demands Al Houthis stop Red Sea attacks
- UK, US forces repel 'largest attack' yet by Yemen's Al Houthis in Red Sea
The Houthis said on Friday that US and British interests are now "legitimate targets" after the strikes, which US President Joe Biden said were designed to end their ability to attack ships.
But the White House spokesman warned the rebels against responding.
"I'd point them to the last sentence in the president's statement last night, which is that he reserves the right, and will not hesitate, to take further action," Kirby said.