State Department Denies Pushing Gaza Ceasefire in Back Channel Talks with Iran

Biden, Iran's Ali Khamenei (Win McNamee and Majid/Getty Images)
November 7, 2023

Iranian claims that the Biden administration is secretly pushing an Israeli ceasefire through back channel diplomacy with Tehran are "categorically false," the State Department told the Washington Free Beacon on Tuesday.

Iranian foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian raised eyebrows in Washington, D.C.’s foreign policy community this week when he claimed the Biden administration recently informed Tehran that it is leaning on Israel to implement a ceasefire in its ongoing war against the Hamas terror group, which Iran supports.

"The U.S. sent us a message during the past three days, claiming to be looking for a ceasefire, but in practice, they supported the genocide and crimes committed by the Zionists in Gaza," Amir-Abdollahian was quoted as saying in the country’s state-controlled press, indicating that the United States’ public support for Israel is at odds with its diplomacy behind the scenes.

Asked about these comments on Tuesday, a State Department spokesman flatly denied the Iranian official’s claims but did not address questions about whether the Biden administration is pushing for a ceasefire.

"That statement is categorically false," the State Department said. "We have made clear to Iran that it should not seek to expand the conflict and the consequences should it choose to do so. We have also made clear publicly and privately that we demand the release of hostages held by Hamas."

While the Biden administration initially offered full American support for Israel’s defensive war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip, President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken have suggested a temporary pause in order to deliver humanitarian aid to citizens under siege.

Biden and Blinken have rebuffed calls from Arab nations and Democratic politicians to push Israel into a ceasefire, saying a ceasefire would allow Hamas to rearm itself and continue attacking the Jewish state.

Anti-Israel Democrats in Congress have accused the Biden administration of supporting Israel’s alleged "genocide" of the Palestinian people—allegations that have been echoed by a growing chorus of Biden administration members who oppose the president’s full-throated support for Israel.

State Department employee Sylvia Yacoub has been using social media to accuse Biden of "genocide," warning that the president’s support for the Jewish state will harm the Democrat’s 2024 reelection campaign, as the Free Beacon first reported last week.

Internal dissent within the Biden administration threatens to undercut American support for Israel as it faces down one of the most significant threats in its history.

Meanwhile, Iran continues to offer support to Hamas and rally Arab nations against the Jewish state. Tehran’s terrorist proxies, including Hezbollah in Lebanon, continue to launch attacks on Israel and U.S. military positions in Iraq and Syria, threatening a larger Middle East war.