Wednesday, President Trump said Wednesday there were many options short of war with Iran after US ally Saudi Arabia displayed remnants of drones and missiles it said were used in a crippling attack on its oil sites that was “unquestionably sponsored” by Tehran.
“There are many options. There’s the ultimate option and there are options that are a lot less than that. And we’ll see,” President Trump told reporters Southern California. “I’m saying the ultimate option meaning go in — war.”
The President struck a cautious note as his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, during a visit to Saudi Arabia, described the attacks as “an act of war” on The Kingdom, the world’s largest oil exporter.
President Trump said on Twitter that he had ordered the US Treasury to “substantially increase sanctions” on Iran, which denies carrying out the attacks, and told reporters the unspecified, punitive economic measures would be unveiled within 48 hrs.
President Trump’s Tweet followed repeated US assertions that the Islamic Republic was behind Saturday’s attacks and came hours after Saudi Arabia said the strike was a “test of global will.”
Iran again denied involvement in the 14 September attacks, which hit the world’s biggest Crude Oil processing facility and initially knocked out half of Saudi output. Saudi Arabia is the world’s leading petroleum exporter.
In a remark that may further strain a tense political atmosphere in the Gulf, the Houthis said they had listed dozens of sites in the United Arab Emirates, Riyadh’s top Arab ally, as possible targets for attacks.
To bolster its assertion that Iran was responsible, Saudi Arabia showed drone and missile debris it said amounted to undeniable evidence of Iranian aggression.
A total of 25 drones and missiles were used in the attacks sponsored by Iran but not launched from Yemen, Defence Ministry spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki told a news conference.
“The attack was launched from the north and unquestionably sponsored by Iran,” he said, adding Iranian Delta Wing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) were used in addition to cruise missiles.
An investigation into the origin of the attacks was still under way and the result will be announced later, he said.
The attack exposed gaps in Saudi air defenses despite billions spent on Western military hardware.
Proof of Iranian responsibility, and evidence that the attack was launched from Iranian territory, could pressure Riyadh and Washington into a response. Both nations stressed the need for caution.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, said the strike was a “real test of the global will” to confront subversion of the international order.
His envoy to London, Prince Khalid bin Bander, told the BBC the attack was “almost certainly” Iranian-backed: “We’re trying not to react too quickly because the last thing we need is more conflict in the region.“
The Islamic Republic dismissed the allegations.
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