Trump orders more Iran curbs as Saudi readies attack evidence

18 Septembre, 2019, 20:49 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • White House orders Pentagon to offer options as Aramco attack fallout escalates

In a national security meeting on Monday, US military leaders provided Trump with a menu of possible actions against Iran.

Relations between United States and Iran have deteriorated since President Donald Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear accord a year ago and reimposed sanctions on its oil exports. Trump wrote on Wednesday.

The U.S. accuses Iran of being behind the assault, while Saudi Arabia already has said "Iranian weaponry" was used.

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said the attacks on a Saudi oil field and the world's largest crude processing plant would affect oil prices everywhere but only in the short-term. He added that the missiles have been used by Iran's Revolutionary Guards. "We want to find definitively who did this". The Saudi Defense Ministry claimed the attack was "undeniable" evidence of Iranian aggression.

"The attack was launched from the north and unquestionably sponsored by Iran", defence ministry spokesman Turki al-Maliki told a press conference.

Following US allegations against Iran regarding involvement in attacks against two oil facilities of Saudi Arabia, Tehran has sent a political note to the American side.

Oil prices tumbled 6% on Tuesday after the Saudi energy minister said the kingdom had restored oil supplies to customers at their level before the attacks by drawing from its inventories.

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"Saudi Arabia has been a very reliable supplier of oil in the world", said Jim Burkhard, who heads crude oil research for IHS Markit.

Evidence showing Iranian responsibility, if made public, could pressure Riyadh and Washington into a response, though both nations were stressing the need for caution.

"But the president, seeking a narrowly focused response that wouldn't draw the USA into broader military conflict with Iran, asked for more options", the report said, quoting people who were briefed on the meeting.

It said Iran "denies and condemns claims" by USA president Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that it was behind the attacks. However, not retaliating to the strikes also carries the risk of leaving Saudi Arabia exposed to continued attacks.

Already-frayed U.S. -Iran ties deteriorated further when Trump quit a nuclear pact between Tehran and the West a year ago and reimposed sanctions, severely hurting the Iranian economy.

"We have to sit down with the Saudis and work something out", he told reporters on Tuesday. He said the cruise missiles had a range of 700 kilometers (435 miles), meaning they could not have been fired from inside Yemen.

Saudi Arabia is racing to restore its lost production, but the extent of the damage at the plants remains unclear and the Energy Intelligence group said some of the fix work could take "several weeks".


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