Sullivan warns Iran of 'severe consequences' if American citizens are attacked

White House national security adviser Jake SullivanJake SullivanWicker: Biden comments on Ukraine caused 'distress' for both parties White House says Russia could launch attack in Ukraine 'at any point' Blinken stresses 'unshakable' US commitment to Ukraine in call with Russian counterpart MORE on Sunday warned Iran that it would face "serious consequences" if any U.S. citizens are attacked after Iranian officials sanctioned multiple Americans.

"Yesterday, Iran purported to impose sanctions on 52 Americans. They do so as Iran’s proxy militias continue to attack American troops in the Middle East, and as Iranian officials threaten to carry out terror operations inside the United States and elsewhere around the world,"  Sullivan said in a statement.

"Make no mistake: the United States of America will protect and defend its citizens. This includes those serving the United States now and those who formerly served," he added.


On Saturday, Iran sanctioned more than 50 Americans for the 2020 killing of General Qassem Soleimani. 

According to the Iranian Foreign Ministry, the sanctioned Americans were targeted due to "their role in the terrorist crime by the United States against the martyred General Qassem Soleimani and his companions and the promotion of terrorism and violations of fundamental human rights."

The sanctions will allow Iran to seize any assets that these Americans have in Iran, though Reuters noted this move may be largely symbolic .

Among those who were sanctioned by Iran include the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark MilleyMark MilleyJournalist Robert Costa leaving Washington Post for CBS News The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Voting rights week for Democrats (again) Overnight Defense & National Security — Texas hostage situation rattles nation MORE, and former national security adviser Robert O'BrienRobert O'BrienSullivan warns Iran of 'severe consequences' if American citizens are attacked Watchdog cites 13 Trump officials who violated Hatch Act before 2020 election Lawmakers pay tribute to Colin Powell MORE.

The 2020 killing of Soleimani was ordered under the Trump administration. Last week, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi called for former President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden says Roe v. Wade under attack like 'never before' On student loans, Biden doesn't have an answer yet Grill company apologizes after sending meatloaf recipe on same day of rock star's death MORE to face trial over Soleimani's death or Tehran would retaliate.

"We have our disagreements on Iran policy," Sullivan said on Sunday. "But we are united in our resolve against threats and provocations. We are united in the defense of our people."

"We will work with our allies and partners to deter and respond to any attacks carried out by Iran. Should Iran attack any of our nationals, including any of the 52 people named yesterday, it will face severe consequences," said Sullivan.