President Donald Trump suggested on Sunday that the U.S. military could be used to respond to the terrorist attacks on oil sites in Saudi Arabia, for which U.S. officials say Iran was responsible.
“Saudi Arabia oil supply was attacked,” Trump tweeted. “There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!”
“Based on the attack on Saudi Arabia, which may have an impact on oil prices, I have authorized the release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, if needed, in a to-be-determined amount sufficient to keep the markets well-supplied,” Trump said several minutes earlier. “I have also informed all appropriate agencies to expedite approvals of the oil pipelines currently in the permitting process in Texas and various other States.”
The Saturday attacks knocked out over 5% of global oil supply and it could take Saudi Arabia months to recover from the attack, which a senior U.S. official told Reuters potentially involved cruise missiles.
“The U.S. official, who asked not to be named, said there were 19 points of impact in the attack on Saudi facilities and that evidence showed the launch area was west-northwest of the targets — the direction of Iran — not south from Yemen,” Reuters added. “The official added that Saudi officials had indicated they had seen signs that cruise missiles were used in the attack, which is inconsistent with the Iran-aligned Houthi group’s claim that it conducted the attack with 10 drones.”
The official, according to Reuters, said: “There’s no doubt that Iran is responsible for this. No matter how you slice it, there’s no escaping it. There’s no other candidate.”
The Associated Press reported that “the U.S. released new evidence to back up its allegation that Iran was responsible for the assault amid heightened tensions over Tehran’s collapsing nuclear deal.”
“The U.S. officials said additional devices, which apparently didn’t reach their targets, were recovered northwest of the facilities and are being jointly analyzed by Saudi and American intelligence,” the Associated Press added.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo directly blamed Iran for the attacks in a set of tweets on Saturday, writing: “Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia while Rouhani and Zarif pretend to engage in diplomacy. Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply. There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.”
“We call on all nations to publicly and unequivocally condemn Iran’s attacks. The United States will work with our partners and allies to ensure that energy markets remain well supplied and Iran is held accountable for its aggression,” Pompeo added.
“The attacks happened a few days before world leaders are set to gather in New York for the United Nations General Assembly, where Mr. Trump has said he is interested in meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to defuse tensions,” The Wall Street Journal reported. “Iran didn’t react to the attacks on Saturday, and officials have said Mr. Rouhani won’t meet with Mr. Trump until the U.S. lifts sanctions imposed after the president pulled out of the 2015 international nuclear deal.”