US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan REUTERS/Leah Millis

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan warned on Sunday that Iran will face severe consequences if it attacks Americans, including any of those sanctioned by Tehran for the 2020 killing of top General Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike.

"We will work with our allies and partners to deter and respond to any attacks carried out by Iran," Sullivan said in a statement quoted by Reuters. "Should Iran attack any of our nationals, including any of the 52 people named yesterday, it will face severe consequences."

His comments came a day after Iran imposed sanctions on dozens of Americans, many of them from the US military, over the 2020 killing of Soleimani.

Iran's Foreign Ministry said 51 Americans had been targeted for what it called "terrorism" and human rights violations. The step lets Iranian authorities seize any assets they hold in Iran, but the apparent absence of such assets means it will likely be symbolic.

It was not clear why Sullivan's statement referred to 52 people when Tehran said it had sanctioned 51.

Iran's sanctions included US General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as well as former White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien.

Iran in 2020 issued an arrest warrant against then-US President Donald Trump and asked for Interpol's aid in detaining him in the killing of Soleimani. Interpol swiftly rejected the request, saying its guidelines for notices forbids it from "any intervention or activities of a political" nature.

Iraq has similarly issued a warrant for Trump’s arrest as part of a Baghdad court's investigation into the killing of top Iraqi paramilitary commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who died in the same US drone strike that killed Soleimani.

Last week, Iran announced it seeks to prosecute 127 suspects for involvement and cooperation in the elimination of Soleimani.

No details were provided on the identity of the suspects which Iran seeks to prosecute.