In the wake of a surprise attack by the Palestinian militant group Hamas against Israel, U.S. President Joe Biden has issued a cryptic warning to Iran.
During a joint press conference with Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday, Biden addressed the escalating violence between the two sides, but also squarely addressed Iran, saying that “the governments of Iran and Hamas must take serious steps to reduce tensions and demonstrate they are willing to embrace peace.”
He continued with a seemingly uncharacteristically stern warning to Iran, urging them to “be careful.”
Biden’s message to Iran comes on the heels of a statement from senior White House officials denying that it was Tehran-backed militants who were behind the rocket attack launched from Gaza into Israel on Sunday.
The attack reportedly caused significant property damage and injured seven Israelis, including a child. In response, the Israeli Air Force conducted a series of airstrikes in Gaza, killing at least 25 Palestinians.
While the White House explicitly disavowed the possibility of Iran being involved in the attack, the president’s stern words seem to suggest that he still wants to send a message to the country, warning them against taking any actions which could further escalate tensions in the region.
This is not the first time Biden has warned Iran against potential actions, as he previously used strong language to warn Tehran against returning to its former nuclear weapons program.
The warring nations have maintained a fragile truce since a ceasefire agreement in May of last year, which was brokered by the Biden administration.
With tensions in the region already high, Biden’s warning to Iran will likely send a chill through officials in the country, as the U.S. president has made it clear that there are consequences for any actions which could further destabilize the Middle East.