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Press Conference: Karine Jean-Pierre Holds a Press Briefing at The White House - April 15, 2024

  • John Kirby
    Person
  • Question
    Person
  • Karine Jean-Pierre
    Person
Unknown

Karine Jean-Pierre

Positive
00:00:00-00:00:01 (2 sec)
Good afternoon, everyone. 1

Question

Positive
00:00:01-00:00:02 (1 sec)
Good afternoon. 2

Karine Jean-Pierre

Very Positive
00:00:02-00:00:32 (30 sec)
So I just have a, just something really quick at the top. The mics are always funky. Is it funky? No? Oh, OK. Let's get going. With all seriousness, though, it was obviously a very busy weekend at the White House. The president spent hours in the Situation Room closely monitoring the latest developments in the Middle East with his national security team. 3

Karine Jean-Pierre

Leans Positive
00:00:32-00:01:05 (33 sec)
He was engaged in extensive diplomacy speaking with Israeli Prime minister on Saturday night and convening a call with G7 leaders on Sunday morning. The president also organized a joint statement with the G7 that strongly condemn Iran's brazen and unprecedented attack. Today, the president received an updated briefing from his national security team and as you all know, met with the leaders of Iraq and will meet with the leaders of the Czech Republic later this afternoon. 4

Karine Jean-Pierre

Somewhat Positive
00:01:05-00:01:17 (12 sec)
With that, we have my NBC colleague, Admiral John Kirby, who's here to do a much deeper dive, and also take your questions on the Middle East. 5

John Kirby

Negative
00:01:17-00:01:42 (25 sec)
Somebody's do [Inaudible]. Good afternoon. As you all know and certainly Karine restated it, Iran and its proxies operating in Yemen, Syria and Iraq also, conducted an unprecedented attack on the state of Israel with over 300 weapons, including more than 100 ballistic missiles as well as land attack, cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles or drones. 6

John Kirby

Very Negative
00:01:42-00:02:05 (23 sec)
President Biden instructed the United States to defend Israel to the maximum extent possible and defeat that attack and we did. With the support of our partners, the United States enabled Israel to spectacularly defeat it. Despite launching more than those 300 weapons from Iran in the region, Israel and a coalition of partners were able to defeat 99 percent of the attacks. 7

John Kirby

Very Negative
00:02:05-00:02:30 (25 sec)
There was virtually no infrastructure damage to Israel, but their attack requires an unequivocal condemnation from the international community. And so as Karine said, the president convened the G7 yesterday and they have forcefully condemned that attack and urged for calm and de-escalation. And I'd like to take just a few minutes to correct the record on a few points that have come out in the last several hours. 8

John Kirby

Very Negative
00:02:30-00:02:56 (26 sec)
I've seen reporting that the Iranians meant to fail, that this spectacular and embarrassing failure was all by design. I've also seen Iran say that they provided early warning to help Israel prepare its defenses and limit any potential damage. All of this is categorically false. To coin the phrase from the president, or steal a phrase from the president, it's malarkey. 9

John Kirby

Slightly Negative
00:02:56-00:03:27 (30 sec)
This attack failed because it was defeated by Israel, by the United States and by a coalition of other partners committed to Israel's defense. So let's be straight. Given the scale of this attack. Iran's intent was clearly to cause significant destruction and casualties. Iranian leaders launched so many missiles and other munitions because they knew that many were going to be defeated, but the aim was to get as many of them through Israel's defenses as possible. 10

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:03:27-00:03:51 (25 sec)
Now, I've also seen this speculation about messages past forth and warnings. We did receive messages from Iran, and they received messages from us too, but there was never any message to us or to anyone else on the timeframe, the targets or the type of response. In fact, before yesterday it was presumed that 100 ballistic missiles might overwhelm even the best defensive systems. 11

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:03:51-00:04:13 (22 sec)
That was Iran's intent and as you all saw for yourself, it didn't work. This attack was defeated thanks to our preparations, to a coalition of committed partners and to Israel's remarkable defensive systems. And I want to focus on that last point for just a moment. Israel today is in a far stronger strategic position than it was only a few days ago. 12

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:04:13-00:04:31 (18 sec)
Iran's vaunted missile program, something it has used to threaten Israel in the region proved to be far less effective. Israel's defenses on the other hand proved even better than many had long assumed. Israel's defense was strengthened by a coalition of countries led by the United States and working together. 13

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:04:31-00:05:02 (30 sec)
The United States has never before so extensively and so directly defended Israel from attack. To ensure that that continues to be the case, the house of representatives must urgently pass the National Security Supplemental, which is already passed the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support. That supplemental includes funding that the president requested for the Iron Dome and David Sling system, systems that saved countless lives this weekend and have saved many lives from Hamas and from Hezbollah rockets over the past six months. 14

John Kirby

Leans Positive
00:05:02-00:05:25 (23 sec)
Passing that bill is the fastest and surest way to get Israel the aid it needs, and we must act urgently to replenish Israel's air defenses just as Congress must act urgently to replenish Ukraine's air defenses, which also continue to be attacked every single day with the same Iranian-made drones. And finally, much of the world today is standing with Israel. 15

John Kirby

Leans Positive
00:05:25-00:05:40 (15 sec)
When the president spoke to the G7 leaders yesterday, they were unified in their condemnation of Iran and their determination to hold Iran accountable. At the president's direction, our teams are now following up with G7 capitals on new multilateral sanctions to target Iran's missile and other nefarious programs. 16

John Kirby

Very Negative
00:05:40-00:06:01 (20 sec)
G7 countries that had yet to designate the IRGC, a terrorist organization, are now considering doing so. And going forward, we will be working to further isolate Iran internationally and increase economic and other forms of pressure. So that's the upshot here, a stronger Israel, a weaker Iran, a more unified alliance of partners. 17

John Kirby

Neutral
00:06:01-00:06:24 (23 sec)
That was not Iran's intent when it launched this attack on Saturday night, not even close and again, they failed. They failed utterly. Now, as you also know, President Biden is welcoming both the Iraqi prime minister and the Prime minister Petr Fiala of the Czech Republic to the White House. The president and Prime Minister al-Sudani from Iraq will discuss the US and Iraq's shared vision for our broad, multifaceted relationship. 18

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:06:24-00:06:35 (11 sec)
During the meeting, these leaders will reaffirm their commitment to advancing regional stability to expanding opportunities for Iraq's people and reinforcing Iraq's sovereignty, security and stability. 19

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:06:35-00:06:54 (19 sec)
The Iraqi prime minister will be here for almost a week, and in that time, he will meet a range of administration officials including both Secretary Blinken at the State Department and Secretary Austin at the Defense Department. He will have opportunities to share his priorities and vision for Iraq with a variety of audiences here in Washington and in other parts of the United States. 20

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:06:54-00:07:20 (26 sec)
And of course, the president will be taking the opportunity to discuss how we will continue to work with Prime Minister Sudani to defuse regional tensions and to prevent Iraq from being drawn into conflict. Iraq, the president firmly believes, is central to the region's stability. And then later, as Karine previewed, he'll have a chance to meet with president -- I'm sorry, Prime Minister Fiala to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Czech Republic as a NATO ally. 21

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:07:20-00:07:44 (24 sec)
Over the past 25 years, our alliance has grown stronger and the relationship between our two countries have grown even closer as we've deepened defense cooperation, including through the Czech Republic's purchase of 24 F-35 fighters earlier this year. The president will congratulate the prime minister on legislation that Czechia recently passed requiring it to spend at least 2 percent of its GDP on defense, which, as you know is the NATO goal. 22

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:07:44-00:08:01 (18 sec)
The leaders will also discuss their strong support for Ukraine, and the president will thank the prime minister for leading an effort to help secure nearly one million rounds of ammunition for Ukraine. And one more thing, if you'll just bear with me. I'm almost done. Today marks the one year conflict in Sudan. 23

John Kirby

Very Negative
00:08:01-00:08:16 (15 sec)
Since fighting erupted a year ago, civilians have been forced to bear the brunt of this senseless conflict. Thousands have been killed and wounded. Women and girls have been kidnapped and assaulted. Hundreds of thousands of families have been displaced. Communities and livelihoods have been utterly destroyed. 24

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:08:16-00:08:31 (15 sec)
And famine now is threatening to take hold. That's why the United States continues to commit resources to create conditions for a potential peace process, to hold accountable actors who are seeking to sow more violence, and to ensure that humanitarian assistance reaches the civilians who urgently need it. 25

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:08:31-00:08:43 (12 sec)
We reiterate our calls for all parties in this conflict to lay down their weapons and put an end to this intolerable violence for the future of Sudan, but most of all for the future of the Sudanese people. Thank you. Appreciate your patience. 26

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:08:43-00:08:45 (2 sec)
Go ahead, Sonya. 27

Question

Negative
00:08:45-00:08:53 (8 sec)
Israel's military, as you just said, quote, "there will be a response to the attack in Iran." So, does the US have any indication of what those next steps are from Israel? 28

John Kirby

Unknown
00:08:53-00:08:55 (2 sec)
We will let the Israelis speak to that. 29

Question

Unknown
00:08:55-00:08:58 (4 sec)
Does the US expect to be consulted in advance of them taking any next steps? 30

John Kirby

Somewhat Positive
00:08:58-00:09:09 (11 sec)
I -- I won't get into our diplomatic conversations or expectations. The Israeli government will determine for themselves if there's going to be a response and what that response is going to look like. 31

Question

Unknown
00:09:09-00:09:21 (11 sec)
And are you able to discuss the specific roles played by other members of the regional coalition from over the weekend, specifically Jordan and Saudi Arabia, whether they helped shoot down missiles, or what other actions they may have done? 32

John Kirby

Slightly Negative
00:09:21-00:09:25 (4 sec)
No, I think we'll let other members of the coalition speak for themselves. 33

Question

Unknown
00:09:25-00:09:35 (10 sec)
John, Israel is reportedly looking at options that would send a message to Iran but not cause casualties. Is the administration presenting alternatives to Netanyahu? 34

John Kirby

Neutral
00:09:35-00:09:45 (10 sec)
This is -- these -- this is an Israeli decision to make, whether and how they'll respond to what Iran did on Saturday. And we're going to leave it squarely with them. 35

Question

Unknown
00:09:45-00:09:48 (3 sec)
Their decision to make, but are you making suggestions? 36

John Kirby

Unknown
00:09:48-00:09:54 (6 sec)
We are not involved in their decision making process about a potential response. 37

Question

Unknown
00:09:54-00:09:58 (4 sec)
And just is the president -- does he have any plans to speak to Netanyahu again? 38

John Kirby

Unknown
00:09:58-00:10:07 (9 sec)
I don't have anything on the calendar to speak to. But, look, I mean, they've -- they've spoken frequently over the last six months. They'll absolutely speak again at the appropriate time. 39

Question

Negative
00:10:07-00:10:24 (17 sec)
Thank you, Karine. John, just one day before the attack, President Biden issued a warning to Iran, don't, and now the US is not taking any part in an Israeli reprisal. So, does that signal to Iran that it can defy the US without facing any consequences? 40

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:10:24-00:10:48 (24 sec)
I don't know, man. If I'm sitting in Tehran and I'm taking a look at what just happened on Saturday night, I don't think I'd be betting that the United States is not willing to get engaged here and help defend Israel. I mean, you had American fighter pilots in the air in combat operations shooting down drones and missiles that were heading towards -- towards Israel, as well as US Navy destroyers at sea knocking them down from there. 41

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:10:48-00:10:58 (10 sec)
So, the message should be very clear to anybody. When the president says we're going to take our commitments to the region seriously, when we're going to help Israel defend itself, we got skin in the game and we prove that. 42

Question

Unknown
00:10:58-00:11:02 (4 sec)
I understand what you're saying about deterrence, but what about consequences? 43

John Kirby

Positive
00:11:02-00:11:22 (20 sec)
As I just said, and Karine also led in, he had a conversation with G7 leaders. He'll be engaging with other allies and partners. We have achieved -- we have seen swift condemnations about what Iran did from the international community, and we're going to be working with international partners to -- to -- to -- to work up options to hold Iran appropriately accountable. 44

Question

Unknown
00:11:22-00:11:36 (14 sec)
And then just on the logistics of this, with roughly 300 drones and missiles shot down, can you talk about how you will assess the debris fields and the shrapnel and how much that impacted people on the ground? 45

John Kirby

Very Negative
00:11:36-00:12:01 (25 sec)
We're not going to be doing any kind of assessment of the impact on the ground. The Israeli Defense Forces and Israeli officials have already been out and about looking at the impact on the ground. There were very few missiles that got through. And the only damage that was done, it was very minor damage to one airbase in -- in Israel that did not even put that airbase out of commission. 46

John Kirby

Very Negative
00:12:01-00:12:14 (13 sec)
The Israelis have already spoken to this. I believe they've already released imagery of some of the things they found on the ground. Sadly, a young girl, an innocent civilian less than ten years old, was severely wounded. That was the only casualty that we're aware of. 47

Question

Very Negative
00:12:14-00:12:32 (18 sec)
Thank you, John. Thank you. John, a couple of questions on Iran and then on Iraq on the prime minister visit. You just said that the White House was not informed of the timing of the Iranian attack on Israel. But the president told us that the attack is going to be sooner than later, and almost a day after the attack happened. 48

Question

Unknown
00:12:32-00:12:33 (1 sec)
So, just -- can you explain this one? 49

John Kirby

Leans Negative
00:12:33-00:12:50 (17 sec)
I never said we didn't have an idea. I never said we didn't have information that -- that -- that we could -- that we could act on and speak to our Israeli counterparts about. What I said was Iran never delivered a message giving us the time and the targets. 50

Question

Unknown
00:12:50-00:12:51 (1 sec)
The exact timing? 51

John Kirby

Very Negative
00:12:51-00:13:02 (11 sec)
No, no, no, no, no, no. No timing. I mean, I want to be clear. This whole narrative out there that Iran passed us a message was what they were going to do is ridiculous. 52

Question

Unknown
00:13:02-00:13:05 (4 sec)
Do you believe that Iranian nuclear sites is a legitimate target? 53

John Kirby

Unknown
00:13:05-00:13:09 (4 sec)
You're -- I'm not going to get into targeting discussions here from the podium. 54

Question

Very Positive
00:13:09-00:13:19 (10 sec)
Okay. Let me ask you about the prime minister. Is the White House satisfied with the way that the Iraqi government is reining in the militias in Iraq, considering they are one of the focuses of the Iranian regime? 55

John Kirby

Leans Negative
00:13:19-00:13:48 (29 sec)
We're going to -- we're going to have a in-depth discussion with the prime minister and his team about the continued activities of militia groups in Iraq, and -- and we'll reinforce our views about how seriously we take the force protection of our -- our troops and our facilities there. And we'll also expect -- I fully expect that -- that we'll talk with the prime minister about the counter ISIS mission in -- in Iraq and its potential future. 56

Question

Very Positive
00:13:48-00:14:06 (19 sec)
And finally just one. He said in the spirit of partnership, we disagree with the United States. And he mentioned something like we need a new system for international law -- to respect international law, international humanitarian law, protection of civilians and diplomatic missions. So, he's hinting at the Israeli attack in Damascus. 57

Question

Leans Positive
00:14:06-00:14:13 (7 sec)
He's also hinting about not doing enough to respect international law. Is this a point of disagreement between you and the Iraqi government? 58

John Kirby

Neutral
00:14:13-00:14:30 (17 sec)
You'll have to talk to the prime minister about what he meant by those comments. Iraq is a key partner, one we really value. We wouldn't be having this meeting today, he wouldn't be having meetings this week if it wasn't an important relationship. As I said, the president believe -- believes that Iraq is critical to regional stability. 59

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:14:30-00:14:31 (1 sec)
Go ahead, [Inaudible]. 60

Question

Slightly Negative
00:14:31-00:14:44 (14 sec)
Thanks, Karine. Thanks, Admiral. You said just now that this -- Iran's attack was a spectacular and embarrassing failure. Do you -- does the president believe that Israel should now take this as a win and show restraint? 61

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:14:44-00:15:05 (21 sec)
I know where the context of the question is coming in, during his conversation with the prime minister on Saturday night. First of all, he congratulated the prime minister for the exceptional effort by the Israeli Defense Forces and, of course, commended, as you would expect the commander in chief to do, the participation of US forces in this coalition and the great work that was done. 62

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:15:05-00:15:19 (15 sec)
I mean, it's easy -- you know, I was looking some -- looking at some of the video before I came out here that's running on some of your networks. And, you know, it's easy to look at that like it's some kind of a computer game, right? It looks so simple. Things get knocked out of the sky. Let me tell you something. 63

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:15:19-00:15:44 (25 sec)
It's not simple. It's hard, and a lot of planning and preparation had to go into that, and a lot of coordination. And the president talked to the prime minister about that. He also noted that this was an extraordinary success, a military success, and that that success alone just for itself speaks volumes about Israel's standing in the region, that they -- they don't stand alone, that a coalition came to help them defend themselves. 64

John Kirby

Slightly Positive
00:15:44-00:16:04 (20 sec)
It also says a lot about Israel's military superiority, and it says just as much about Iran's military inferiority when it came to this particular set of attacks. And the president urged the prime minister to think about what that success says all by itself to the rest of the region. 65

Question

Unknown
00:16:04-00:16:11 (7 sec)
But in terms of thinking about, I mean, but think about restraint about, you know, that maybe this should not go further, that, you know, further to -- 66

John Kirby

Very Negative
00:16:11-00:16:25 (15 sec)
All -- all I'll say is the -- the president, from the beginning of this conflict on October 7th, has been steadfast and consistent. We don't want to see a war with Iran. We don't want to see a broader regional conflict. We will do what we have to do to defend Israel. 67

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:16:25-00:16:26 (1 sec)
Go ahead, [Inaudible]. 68

Question

Somewhat Positive
00:16:26-00:16:33 (7 sec)
Yes. Does the -- this administration believe Israel will indeed strike Iran? Is it your assessment that that is inevitable at this point? 69

John Kirby

Very Negative
00:16:33-00:16:36 (3 sec)
That's going to be up to the prime minister and the War Cabinet to speak to. 70

Question

Unknown
00:16:36-00:16:37 (1 sec)
But your assessment or the administration -- 71

John Kirby

Slightly Negative
00:16:37-00:16:48 (11 sec)
I'm not going to provide intelligence assessments from here. As far as I know, the War Cabinet is still debating and talking about their next steps, I think I'm going to let them speak to whatever their next steps might be. 72

Question

Unknown
00:16:48-00:16:56 (8 sec)
And if I may also ask one question on Gaza, what is the administration's assessment of the timeline for a Rafah invasion given the conversations that you all have been having? 73

John Kirby

Neutral
00:16:56-00:17:02 (6 sec)
Again, you're asking me a question that really should be asked to the Israeli Defense Forces and the Prime Minister, not to the United States. 74

Question

Neutral
00:17:02-00:17:08 (6 sec)
But I know you guys have been having conversations. I just want to get a sense of are these ongoing conversations still? 75

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:17:08-00:17:29 (21 sec)
Yes, of course, we're talking to the Israelis all the time. Now, obviously, in the last 48 hours, particularly, the conversation has been about what Iran did. But yes, we have continued to talk to them about what's going on down in Rafah and we expect, hope in coming days to be able to have yet another round of discussions with them about what their intentions are with respect to Rafah. 76

John Kirby

Unknown
00:17:29-00:17:33 (4 sec)
But the focus rightly right now is on what Iran just did. 77

Question

Somewhat Positive
00:17:33-00:17:44 (11 sec)
On the US military, given whatever the White House and President Biden know about what's going to happen next in the Middle East, are there any fresh US military preparations? 78

John Kirby

Somewhat Positive
00:17:44-00:17:46 (2 sec)
Fresh military preparations for? 79

Question

Unknown
00:17:46-00:17:53 (8 sec)
Whatever. Wide open. 80

John Kirby

Slightly Negative
00:17:53-00:18:10 (17 sec)
Yes. I mean, we're always looking at force protection in the region. We're always looking at our force posture. We're always evaluating it based on the threats and the challenges. You can expect that Secretary Austin and the entire team over there at the Department of Defense is going to stay vigilant to whatever the threat might be. 81

Question

Neutral
00:18:10-00:18:30 (20 sec)
Thanks. You said a moment ago that it's ridiculous this narrative that Iran provided some advance notice about specifics here, but where we're hearing that from specifically is US ally Turkey, US partner Iraq. That's where that information is coming from. So what is the discrepancy exactly that's happening there? 82

John Kirby

Negative
00:18:30-00:18:49 (19 sec)
I can't possibly answer that question, Trevor. All I'm telling you is it's nonsense. I mean, think about this for a minute. Can you imagine a world in which Iran would pick up the phone and say, hey, we're about to try to shwhack Israel with 300 cruise missiles and drones. We just wanted to let you know it's coming. 83

John Kirby

Slightly Positive
00:18:49-00:19:10 (21 sec)
And oh, by the way, here's what we're going to hit. I'm sorry, it just didn't happen. I can't account for what sources might be telling you all about what they heard. I'm telling you what we heard. And while we did get a message from Iran and we passed messages to Iran as well, which I won't get into the details of, none of it was, here's the targets, here's the timeframe, here's the munitions we're going to put on target. 84

Question

Unknown
00:19:10-00:19:21 (12 sec)
And on that subject of communications with Iran generally, you said without preconditions you're willing to sit down with North Korea. Does the same apply to Iran and to reopening some diplomatic discussions with them? 85

John Kirby

Slightly Negative
00:19:21-00:19:22 (1 sec)
No. 86

Question

Slightly Negative
00:19:22-00:19:24 (2 sec)
No. And do you want to elaborate on -- 87

John Kirby

Slightly Negative
00:19:24-00:19:24 ( sec)
No. 88

Question

Slightly Positive
00:19:24-00:19:41 (17 sec)
-- why that is? OK. As far as sanctions in response to Iran, Iranian oil production is now higher than it was two years ago. Is there a reason that you aren't taking more steps against Iranian oil exports? And does it have to do with domestic political pressures around gas prices? 89

John Kirby

Slightly Positive
00:19:41-00:20:02 (21 sec)
I don't have any -- as you know, we don't preview sanctions and I'm not going to start doing that today, except to note what I said in my opening statement that part of the discussion with the G7 leaders was the possibility of additional sanctions on Iran, unilaterally and hopefully multilaterally, but we'll see where that goes. 90

Question

Slightly Negative
00:20:02-00:20:08 (6 sec)
And anything on where the oil prices, or oil exports are coming from Iran and whether you want to stop that? 91

John Kirby

Slightly Negative
00:20:08-00:20:15 (8 sec)
Again, I won't get ahead of economic pressure tools that we might be applying in the future. We're working our way through that. 92

Question

Positive
00:20:15-00:20:31 (15 sec)
A US official told CNN over the weekend that the Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin asked his Israeli counterpart to notify the US ahead of any potential response to the Iran attack. Is there confidence that Israel will provide that advanced notification to the US? 93

John Kirby

Unknown
00:20:31-00:20:35 (4 sec)
I'll just tell you that we are and will remain in very close contact with our Israeli counterparts. 94

Question

Unknown
00:20:35-00:20:37 (2 sec)
So do you expect to get an advance notification? 95

John Kirby

Unknown
00:20:37-00:20:39 (2 sec)
We will stay in close contact with our Israeli counterparts. 96

Question

Somewhat Negative
00:20:39-00:20:54 (14 sec)
On the hostage talks, the Hamas rejected the latest proposal. The US has said that Hamas has rejected the deal, but do you think Israel needs to allow Gazans to return home unrestricted? And should the IDF pull back so they can do that? 97

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:20:54-00:21:12 (19 sec)
First of all, we don't consider it a dead letter. As far as we're concerned, there's a viable proposal on the table and Hamas ought to take it. And we're not letting up on the idea of negotiating for a hostage deal so we can get a ceasefire so we can get more aid in, but that's still very much an active football in our heads. 98

John Kirby

Positive
00:21:12-00:21:44 (32 sec)
And as for movement north, what we've talked to the Israelis about is, you got a million and a half people that are seeking refuge down in Rafah. It's by far the largest concentration of Palestinians in Gaza. They need to be accounted for. Whatever kind of military operation they're thinking about doing in Rafah or anywhere else, to your point about moving north, they have to provide safe venues for them to do that. 99

John Kirby

Unknown
00:21:44-00:21:51 (8 sec)
They have to provide food, water, medicine, shelter. All that has to be baked into whatever future military operations happen on the ground in Gaza. 100

Question

Somewhat Positive
00:21:51-00:21:59 (8 sec)
That does sound though like you're saying that Israel should consider allowing Gazans to move up north, which has been a sticking point in those hostage -- 101

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:21:59-00:22:13 (14 sec)
We want to see them account for the future safety and security of the more than a million refugees that are now taking refuge down near Rafah, with whatever -- baked into whatever military plans they might have for operations on the ground. 102

Question

Unknown
00:22:13-00:22:31 (18 sec)
On the ceasefire negotiations, a US officials said yesterday that the latest proposal included almost everything that Hamas had asked for. And so how is it that the negotiations are at a standstill at this point? Is the US planning another counter proposal? 103

John Kirby

Somewhat Positive
00:22:31-00:22:52 (21 sec)
I don't know of a new proposal. There is a very good proposal on the table that CIA Director Bill Burns helped negotiate in Cairo a week or so ago, that the Israelis were able to get behind. And now it's time for Hamas to step up and take that deal. It will allow for dozens of the hostages, the most at risk pool of them to get out. 104

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:22:52-00:23:01 (9 sec)
And it will allow for about six weeks of a ceasefire, so we can get some calm and we can increase humanitarian assistance. There's a deal on the table, that's what Hamas needs to take. 105

Question

Somewhat Positive
00:23:01-00:23:13 (12 sec)
And when the president spoke yesterday to congressional leaders, did he receive any sort of a commitment from House Speaker Mike Johnson to bring the bipartisan National security supplemental bill to the house floor this week? 106

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:23:13-00:23:43 (31 sec)
I'll let the speaker speak to whatever his plans might be. Certainly, we heard from Leader McConnell and from Leader Jeffries about the importance of passing this supplemental and getting it on its way. And as I said in my opening statement, the fastest way -- I mean you got two good friends here, Israel and Ukraine, very different fights to be sure, but active fights for their sovereignty and for their safety and security. 107

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:23:43-00:23:59 (16 sec)
And time is not on anyone's side here in either case, so they need to move quickly on this. And the best way to get that aid into the hands of the IDF and into the hands of the Ukrainian soldiers is to pass that bipartisan bill that the Senate passed. 108

Question

Unknown
00:23:59-00:24:08 (8 sec)
I understand that that's your preference, the bipartisan bill that the Senate passed, but is the White House opposed to an approach that takes the issue separately -- 109

John Kirby

Positive
00:24:08-00:24:18 (10 sec)
We are opposed to a standalone bill that would just work on Israel, as we've seen proposed. We would oppose a standalone bill, yes. 110

Question

Very Positive
00:24:18-00:24:25 (7 sec)
Admiral, I know you said it was Israel's decision, but to ask it bluntly, if Israel retaliates against Iran, would the US support that? 111

John Kirby

Very Negative
00:24:25-00:24:43 (18 sec)
To answer it bluntly, I'm not going to get into hypotheticals. We don't want to see a war with Ukraine. We don't want to see a wider conflict. As the president said to the prime minister on Saturday night, we will continue to do what we have to do to help Israel defend itself. But you're asking me to get ahead of, as far as I know, a decision that the War Cabinet hasn't even made. 112

Question

Unknown
00:24:43-00:24:46 (3 sec)
But if it were to happen, does -- 113

John Kirby

Positive
00:24:46-00:24:50 (4 sec)
It's a terrific hypothetical, Gabe, that I'm just not going to entertain. 114

Question

Positive
00:24:50-00:24:57 (8 sec)
Thanks. John, has President Biden considered, maybe beefing up the public Iran posture to be more than just one word? 115

John Kirby

Unknown
00:24:57-00:24:59 (2 sec)
You're referring to, don't? 116

Question

Slightly Positive
00:24:59-00:25:00 (1 sec)
Yeah. Because he said -- 117

John Kirby

Unknown
00:25:00-00:25:02 (1 sec)
And so let's talk about -- 118

Question

Unknown
00:25:02-00:25:04 (2 sec)
-- don't and they did it anyway, so now what? 119

John Kirby

Neutral
00:25:04-00:25:36 (32 sec)
And let's talk about what we did, Peter. Let's talk about don't and did. Let's talk about Saturday night. He made it clear that he didn't want to see escalation in the region and -- let me finish. He added military resources to the region right after October 7th. And then when we had an inkling that this kind of thing was coming, he added even more military resources to the region, more destroyers that were capable of shooting down ballistic missiles, a fighter squadron that was able to shoot down drones, and that's what we did. 120

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:25:36-00:26:03 (27 sec)
So you can talk about the don't word all you want, but let's talk about what did happen and what did happen was Iran utterly failed. And if I'm sitting in Tehran right now, I'm betting that President Biden takes it pretty seriously when he says don't escalate, he's going to act to make sure that you can't. And they didn't. Yes, they fired an unprecedented amount of munitions, but how much of a success did they have, Peter, none, zero, very little infrastructure. 121

John Kirby

Somewhat Negative
00:26:03-00:26:07 (4 sec)
It was an embarrassing failure for the supreme leader and for the IRGC. 122

Question

Very Negative
00:26:07-00:26:20 (12 sec)
Now that we know that the Iranians do not listen to President Biden's public warnings, is there any regret here about unfreezing billions of dollars for Iranian leaders during the president's administration? 123

John Kirby

Unknown
00:26:20-00:26:21 (2 sec)
What unfreezing are you talking about? 124

Question

Unknown
00:26:21-00:26:23 (2 sec)
He unfrozen billions of dollars -- 125

John Kirby

Unknown
00:26:23-00:26:27 (4 sec)
For Iranian leaders, really? I don't think so. 126

Question

Slightly Positive
00:26:27-00:26:31 (3 sec)
OK. You guys say it's for humanitarian purposes, but doesn't that -- 127

John Kirby

Unknown
00:26:31-00:26:32 (1 sec)
But you don't believe me? 128

Question

Slightly Negative
00:26:32-00:26:39 (7 sec)
Well doesn't that free up money for them to spend on other stuff? Where do you get the money for an unprecedented number of munitions to fire at Israel? 129

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:26:39-00:27:09 (30 sec)
So first of all, I'm betting if they're sitting in Tehran, they're taking it seriously when President Biden says he's going to defend Israel. We put skin in the game, a whole heck of a lot of it, and knocked almost everything out of the sky. So, I'm betting they're taking it pretty seriously. And as for this -- this unfreezing, none of that fund, none of those funds, funds set up in an account, by the way, by the previous administration goes directly to the supreme leader or the IRGC, can only be used for humanitarian purposes. 130

John Kirby

Somewhat Positive
00:27:09-00:27:13 (4 sec)
And we're watching that account very, very closely to make sure that that's what happens. 131

Question

Unknown
00:27:13-00:27:23 (11 sec)
And you guys often defend all the trips to Delaware by saying the president is not on vacation. He's working. He can be the president from anywhere. So, why'd he have to come back on Saturday? 132

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:27:23-00:27:55 (32 sec)
Well, we got indications -- shortly after arriving, we got better, firmer intelligence and information about the -- the specific timing of what we expected to be this Iranian attack. And the president didn't bat an eye before getting back on that helicopter and coming back. And he was here all Saturday night in the Situation Room, from mid-afternoon til late at night getting real time updates from General Kurilla and from his defense team all throughout the night, including calling Prime Minister Netanyahu right from the Situation Room. 133

John Kirby

Unknown
00:27:55-00:28:04 (9 sec)
And as Karim mentioned, on Sunday he was right back at it again, working the G7, calling King Abdullah. I don't know what else to tell you. He had a very busy full weekend. 134

Question

Very Negative
00:28:04-00:28:13 (9 sec)
John, on Iran, what is the current thinking on whether Iran's Revolutionary Guard should be designated as a terrorist organization? 135

John Kirby

Unknown
00:28:13-00:28:14 (1 sec)
We already have. 136

Question

Unknown
00:28:14-00:28:21 (8 sec)
And then just do you have any update on getting additional humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza? You'd said -- 137

John Kirby

Slightly Positive
00:28:21-00:28:22 ( sec)
Yeah. 138

Question

Unknown
00:28:22-00:28:27 (5 sec)
Last week that you had 300 trucks on Wednesday. And with the weekend's events -- 139

John Kirby

Neutral
00:28:27-00:28:47 (21 sec)
Yeah. And forgive me. I don't know if Karine might have already briefed this out to you guys. But, you know, over the last week or so, more than 2,000 trucks have gotten in. And even throughout the course of the weekend as Israel was dealing with a quite daunting attack by Iran, they were still able to get some trucks into Gaza. 140

John Kirby

Slightly Positive
00:28:47-00:29:10 (23 sec)
So, in these early days after the previous phone call with Prime Minister Netanyahu, where the president talked about the need to increase humanitarian assistance, we have seen Israel take steps to -- to -- to do exactly that. Now, as we've also said, it's still not enough. The -- the need is dire, and what we're going to be doing is watching for sustained commitment to doing that over time. 141

John Kirby

Positive
00:29:10-00:29:14 (4 sec)
But -- but thus far, there has been an increase in humanitarian assistance. 142

Question

Very Negative
00:29:14-00:29:31 (17 sec)
This one on the timing of the -- of any type of warning. So, are you saying Iran never told a US partner, Switzerland, Oman, any of them, Turkey, Iraq, never gave them any information about the attack they were preparing to launch, and that information never reached the US? 143

John Kirby

Very Negative
00:29:31-00:29:47 (16 sec)
The United States had no messages from Iran or from anybody else, as I said in my opening statement, that -- that the -- that offered a specific timeframe or a specific set of targets, or the types of weapons that they were going to fire. 144

Question

Negative
00:29:47-00:29:57 (10 sec)
So, just concretely, why would US partners in Turkey, Jordan, Iraq lie about passing along Iranian messages about any forthcoming attack? 145

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:29:57-00:30:22 (26 sec)
Look, I'm not -- I'm not calling anybody a liar here. I'm telling you from our perspective what we knew and what we didn't know. And we were able to help with Israel's defenses. Because we had information that we had received and Israel had received through our own -- our own efforts. But it never came as some sort of message from Iran with, I mean, the timing and the target. 146

John Kirby

Positive
00:30:22-00:30:33 (11 sec)
I -- it's -- it's -- it kind of boggles my mind that anybody would believe that Iran would pick up the phone and tell the United States, who -- who they know -- 147

Question

Positive
00:30:33-00:30:36 (3 sec)
Or partners would tell the United States. 148

John Kirby

Positive
00:30:36-00:31:02 (26 sec)
-- who -- who they know is -- been very, very directly involved with helping Israel defend itself and very public about doing that, and detail the times and the targets. Look, this to me seems like a lot of, you know, Monday morning quarterbacking kind of stuff, woulda, coulda, shoulda, and -- and maybe they want to make it appear like, you know, this was some sort of small pinprick of an attack that they never meant to succeed. 149

John Kirby

Slightly Negative
00:31:02-00:31:17 (15 sec)
You can't throw that much metal in the air, which they did, in the time frame in which they did it and convince anybody realistic that you weren't trying to cause casualties and you weren't calling -- trying to cause damage. They absolutely were. 150

Question

Unknown
00:31:17-00:31:23 (7 sec)
And just one more. Is the meeting with Israeli -- Israeli officials on Rafah still -- is that happening this week? 151

John Kirby

Somewhat Positive
00:31:23-00:31:29 (6 sec)
I don't have a date for you. We're still trying to get that nailed down. As I said earlier, we'd like to continue those conversations. 152

Question

Very Positive
00:31:29-00:31:54 (25 sec)
Thank you, Karine. Hi, Admiral. House Majority Leader Scalise said on Friday that Speaker Johnson was negotiating with the White House modifications to the Ukraine aid package. Are you -- what is being negotiated? And you just categorically said that the White House opposes a standalone Israel bill -- 153

John Kirby

Unknown
00:31:54-00:31:55 (1 sec)
That's right. 154

Question

Slightly Negative
00:31:55-00:32:06 (11 sec)
Supplemental. Are you also opposed to changes to the supplemental, for example, changing aid to alone? 155

John Kirby

Positive
00:32:06-00:32:10 (4 sec)
I know it would make your jobs a lot easier if I negotiated this thing up here in public. 156

Question

Slightly Negative
00:32:10-00:32:11 (1 sec)
No, I just -- 157

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:32:11-00:32:33 (22 sec)
But I'm not going to do that. You're right. The president did have an opportunity to speak with Speaker Johnson and other congressional leaders, including -- including McConnell and Jeffries. And he made it clear that the best and the fastest way to stand by our allies and partners is for the House of Representatives to take up the bipartisan bill that the Senate passed. 158

Question

Slightly Negative
00:32:33-00:32:38 (6 sec)
But are you also opposed to the modifications and changes as you opposed the stand alone? 159

John Kirby

Unknown
00:32:38-00:32:39 (1 sec)
I've answered the question. 160

Question

Very Positive
00:32:39-00:32:50 (10 sec)
Thank you so much, John. First of all, thank you for your dedication this weekend and keeping us all informed. I think we all saw more of you than our own families, which is real cool. 161

John Kirby

Somewhat Positive
00:32:50-00:32:54 (4 sec)
You certainly saw more of me than my family did. [Laughter] 162

Question

Somewhat Positive
00:32:54-00:33:12 (18 sec)
I have two questions. First of all, administration officials told us on Sunday that they had help from India, China, and Iraq. Can you just detail, you know, some -- give us some of the details on that? And does that represent a move forward in US-China relations that you were able to cooperate on -- in thwarting this attack? 163

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:33:12-00:33:23 (12 sec)
Yeah, as I said earlier, I think I'll let other countries speak to their participation and cooperation and -- to the degree that -- that they're comfortable doing that. I can only speak for the United States and what we did. 164

Question

Unknown
00:33:23-00:33:25 (2 sec)
Does this represent a step forward for the -- 165

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:33:25-00:33:47 (22 sec)
I think what -- I think what it says is, without getting into the specific contributions of other countries, as I said in my opening statement, it shows that Israel's not standing alone. That -- I mean, that unlike Iran, which is increasingly isolated on the world stage, Israel has friends. Israel has great skill, great professionalism, great military capability. 166

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:33:47-00:33:53 (7 sec)
And that's not by accident. All of that comes from the support that they get, particularly from the United States, but other countries as well. 167

Question

Neutral
00:33:53-00:34:04 (11 sec)
And then if the US can -- and allies can help shoot down Iranian drones over Israel, why can't they do the same over Ukraine? 168

John Kirby

Very Negative
00:34:04-00:34:29 (24 sec)
Yeah, I knew this question was coming too. Look, different conflicts, different conflicts, different airspace, different threat picture. And the president has been clear since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine the United States is not going to be involved in that -- that conflict in a combat role, and we haven't. We have been providing Ukraine the tools that they need to help defend their airspace. 169

John Kirby

Unknown
00:34:29-00:34:36 (7 sec)
And unfortunately, we can't do that right now because we don't have that national security supplemental funding that -- that they so desperately need. 170

Question

Very Positive
00:34:36-00:35:02 (26 sec)
The Syrian Christians are the indigenous people of Iraq. And before liberation, about 2.5 million and they're down to nearly 200,000. And just last month, the Iraqi Supreme Court removed all of their -- we had five seats in the Kurdish parliament for many decades and those were renewed -- were removed. Have you -- has that come up in any of the discussions? 171

John Kirby

Unknown
00:35:02-00:35:03 (1 sec)
I'll take the question. 172

Question

Very Positive
00:35:03-00:35:23 (20 sec)
Thank you. Thank you, Karine. And thank you, John, for all you did over the weekend. I have two questions. First, you mentioned the shipping of aid to Gaza from Israel. Do we have a US consular official at the border who is confirming that the aid actually gets there? 173

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:35:23-00:35:47 (24 sec)
I'm not aware of a consular presence at the border, but we are -- I said constant touch with our Israeli counterparts. You know, we also have David Satterfield, who's the president's special envoy, for that exact purpose. And I mean, he's -- he's like Waldo. I mean, he's all over the place, constantly up and down, I mean, making sure that that stuff is getting in and keeping the president and the whole team fully informed. 174

Question

Positive
00:35:47-00:36:11 (24 sec)
My other question is that, given the recent developments with Iran, is the US going to step up its contacts with the opposition to the current regime in Tehran? And I mean specifically exile groups in the United States, plus on the ground, the Baluchi, Azeri, the Kurds, and the Sunni who are in opposition to the regime? 175

John Kirby

Negative
00:36:11-00:36:15 (4 sec)
I don't know of any such efforts in the wake of the -- the attacks. 176

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:36:15-00:36:17 (2 sec)
All right, a couple more. Way in the back, go ahead. 177

Question

Somewhat Positive
00:36:17-00:36:22 (5 sec)
Thank you, John. Why is the US not going to participate in a counteroffensive? 178

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:36:22-00:36:38 (16 sec)
Again, I think I've answered this question. The president had a good chat with the prime minister. We talked about the incredible success that -- that we and they achieved on Saturday night, and -- and the message that that success sends not only to the region but also to Iran as well. 179

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:36:38-00:36:47 (9 sec)
And as I've also said, as the president has certainly said, we're not looking for a war with Iran. We're not looking to broaden and deepen this conflict in the region. 180

Question

Unknown
00:36:47-00:36:51 (4 sec)
How exactly is he trying to de-escalate this situation? 181

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:36:51-00:37:07 (17 sec)
Everything the president's been doing since the 7th of October has been designed to try to de-escalate and to try to keep the conflict from widening and deepening and that includes the moves that he made in the last 10, 12 days to add resources to the region, so that we could help Israel better defend itself. 182

John Kirby

Negative
00:37:07-00:37:23 (16 sec)
And my goodness, it all paid off. I mean, instead of having 100 ballistic missiles land inside of Israel and cause untold damage to infrastructure and to human lives, none of that occurred. And the reason none of it occurred was because the president was ahead of the problem set. 183

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:37:23-00:37:24 (1 sec)
Brian. 184

Question

Leans Positive
00:37:24-00:37:38 (14 sec)
Thanks, Karine. John, just a couple of follow ups. The coalition to put together limiting Iran's development of nuclear weapons, is that's still solid in the face of what's going on. 185

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:37:38-00:38:01 (22 sec)
As the president has said, we'd love nothing better than to be able to solve Iranian nuclear progress, nuclear weapons progress through diplomacy. Unfortunately, that's not an option right now because the Iranians well before any of this just weren't negotiating in good faith. None of the diplomatic efforts were paying off. 186

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:38:01-00:38:20 (19 sec)
And so that effort kind of fell moribund as we look for other ways to increase pressure on Iran. The president has also said that while he would prefer to deal with this threat diplomatically, he also will make sure that he's got options and choices available to him to ensure that Iran never achieves a nuclear weapons capability. 187

Question

Neutral
00:38:20-00:38:25 (5 sec)
But the countries that were backing that coalition, still a member, they're all China, Russia -- 188

John Kirby

Unknown
00:38:25-00:38:29 (4 sec)
You're talking about a process that's just moribund right now, Brian? I mean -- 189

Question

Unknown
00:38:29-00:38:39 (10 sec)
So the other follow up, the container ship. There have been rumors. The container ship that was seized by Iran, was there anything of a sensitive nature on it? Do we know what was on it? 190

John Kirby

Unknown
00:38:39-00:38:45 (6 sec)
I think I'd refer you to the Pentagon on that. I don't have an update on the cargo. 191

Question

Very Positive
00:38:45-00:38:49 (5 sec)
Well, I want to thank you for using the word shwack and of course, where's Waldo. 192

John Kirby

Unknown
00:38:49-00:38:52 (3 sec)
I'm going to hear about that [Inaudible]. 193

Question

Slightly Positive
00:38:52-00:39:00 (8 sec)
But at the end, you understand the reason why the question about advanced knowledge because the president did come back early, and I think you spoke -- 194

John Kirby

Neutral
00:39:00-00:39:09 (8 sec)
I didn't say -- I never said we didn't have an advanced sense of what -- what I said was we didn't get that sense from the Iranians sending us a telegram. 195

Question

Unknown
00:39:09-00:39:18 (9 sec)
Right, but as Peter asked, I believe, there was -- we were told not specifics, but that something was going to occur. 196

John Kirby

Slightly Negative
00:39:18-00:39:20 (2 sec)
No. 197

Question

Unknown
00:39:20-00:39:22 (2 sec)
[Inaudible] for me. 198

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:39:22-00:39:51 (29 sec)
It's not about being told. I think you all understand. We have lots of tools and vehicles through intelligence and other information methods to glean a picture of what an adversary may or may not do. Now sometimes it's right, sometimes it's not 100 percent right. We had a good sense of what Iran was planning to do, and we achieved that level of situational awareness on our own and working with our Israeli counterparts. 199

John Kirby

Neutral
00:39:51-00:40:06 (14 sec)
The notion, the idea that Iran send us an email or picked up the phone and told us what they were planning to do is just ludicrous. It didn't happen. I don't know how else to be more clear about it. 200

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:40:06-00:40:09 (3 sec)
Go ahead, Andrew, and then we'll wrap up. 201

Question

Very Positive
00:40:09-00:40:14 (4 sec)
Thank you, John, and Happy Tax Day. Two for you here. 202

John Kirby

Unknown
00:40:14-00:40:15 (1 sec)
[Inaudible] about that. 203

Question

Unknown
00:40:15-00:40:17 (2 sec)
There's been reporting that -- 204

John Kirby

Unknown
00:40:17-00:40:17 (1 sec)
He's right. [Laughter] 205

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:40:17-00:40:18 (1 sec)
Is that right? 206

Question

Very Positive
00:40:18-00:40:27 (9 sec)
OK. So there's been reporting that the president suggested to the prime minister that Israel take the win and not go further with an offensive response. 207

John Kirby

Slightly Positive
00:40:27-00:40:28 (1 sec)
I have seen that. Yeah. 208

Question

Very Positive
00:40:28-00:41:07 (39 sec)
I have colleagues who are reporting that Israel is very much in the process of planning an offensive response to this weekend's attacks. Given the political situation in Israel, Prime Minister Netanyahu's coalition, some of which is a bit extreme and his own situation, does the president have faith that the prime minister will not escalate the situation out of his own political interests as opposed to genuine Israeli security interests? 209

Question

Unknown
00:41:07-00:41:09 (2 sec)
And then I have an unrelated one for you. 210

John Kirby

Somewhat Negative
00:41:09-00:41:38 (30 sec)
I'm not going to be able to get into Prime Minister Netanyahu's psychology or his political calculations or what's going into his decision making process. What I would tell you is that the president and the prime minister speak frequently, certainly as appropriate. And the president has been consistent publicly and privately that he doesn't want to see the war between Israel and Hamas escalate any more than it that it already has. 211

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:41:38-00:41:47 (9 sec)
And he doesn't want to see a broader regional conflict and he's certainly not looking for a war with Iran and I am confident that the prime minister is aware of the president's concerns. 212

Question

Slightly Positive
00:41:47-00:41:59 (12 sec)
OK. And on Gaza this morning, you said that Israel has been doing the things the president asked them to do, but we really need to see it sustained over time. 213

John Kirby

Neutral
00:41:59-00:42:01 (2 sec)
And you want to know how long is that time? 214

Question

Slightly Negative
00:42:01-00:42:02 (1 sec)
No, sir. 215

John Kirby

Slightly Positive
00:42:02-00:42:03 (1 sec)
OK. 216

Question

Neutral
00:42:03-00:42:28 (25 sec)
That would imply that you didn't want to call it an ultimatum. But the conditions that the president laid out in his prior phone call with the prime minister, about the aid workers, the conditions on the ground for humanitarian workers and aid getting into Gaza, that that needed to change or there could be changes in US policy towards Gaza. 217