Kirby: ‘Too Soon to Tell’ Whether Iranian Government Responsible for Embassy Attack

• January 4, 2016 3:48 pm


State Department spokesman John Kirby could not say Monday whether the Iranian government was at fault for recent attacks on the Saudi embassy in Iran.

When AP reporter Matt Lee asked Kirby whether the U.S. held the Iranian government responsible for the ransacking, Kirby said that it was too soon to judge.

"I think it’s too soon to tell right now," Kirby said. "I mean, it just happened. It’s difficult with attacks like this of a violent nature to determine who exactly and precisely is at fault certainly in the hours afterward."

He said that whoever is responsible for the attack should be punished, but that it is unclear who that is.

"Um, obviously, for an attack like this we want to see the perpetrators brought to justice. That’s clear, we’ve said that before. But I don’t know that we’re in a position now to know with any great detail who exactly is responsible," he said.

Lee later told Kirby that Saudi officials released a timeline for the embassy attack that demonstrated the fault of the Iranian government.

"They say, and I have no reason to think that they’re lying, that they called multiple times on the Iranian authorities to send security forces to protect their embassy and their consulate and that none came. How can you not hold them responsible?" Lee said.

Kirby said that he had not seen the reports.

"I haven’t seen that timeline, Matt," he said. Lee promised to send Kirby a copy.

"I look forward to seeing it," Kirby said.

Sunday’s attacks came after the execution of Shiite cleric Sheik Nimr al-Nimr in Saudi Arabia Saturday. Following the attacks, tensions between the two countries have only intensified as Saudi Arabia and many of her allies have cut ties with the Iranian government.

Published under: Iran, Saudi Arabia, State Department