Kirby Won’t Admit That Iranian Government Acquiescence In Embassy Attack Is Plausible


State Department spokesman John Kirby would not say Tuesday whether it was plausible that the Iranian government went along with a recent attack on the Saudi embassy.

Reuters reporter Arshad Mohammed asked Kirby whether he thought it was “plausible” that the Saudi embassy “could have been attacked, burned, besieged over a significant period of time without some measure of Iranian government acquiescence,” considering America’s experience “in having embassies attacked” in Tehran, Iran’s capital.

Kirby said that he did not know and that the Iranian government is leading the investigation on the attack, not the United States.

“I don’t know the answer to that question,” he said. “The tick-tock of what happened, who did what, when, who didn’t do things they were supposed to do, I think, you know, that’s for the Iranian government to speak to, and to look at themselves, and to review. Not for us, we’re not doing an independent investigation here on what happened.”

He then said that it was too soon to tell what happened, a line he also used in Monday’s briefing.

“I think it’s too soon for anybody to know exactly how it transpired, or whether there was any lack of effort or alacrity in trying to stop it or stem it once it started,” he said.

He later added that he “didn’t say that it was plausible that they [the Iranians] did or they didn’t [acquiesce in this attack].”

The day prior, Associated Press reporter Matt Lee told Kirby he would send him a copy of Saudi officials’ account of the embassy attack, which demonstrated that the Saudis “requested protection and help from the Iranian authorities numerous times and never got an answer.” Following Kirby’s refusal to admit plausibility, Lee asked Kirby whether he had seen the timeline.

“We can’t confirm or deny those reports that were in that timeline,” Kirby said.

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