DONALD Trump threatened to do “dastardly things” to Iran in response to the drone attacks on the world’s largest oil plant in Saudi Arabia.
The US President indicated he is wary of involving America in another war in the Middle East – but he did not rule out a military attack.
Trump threatened to do ‘dastardly things’ to Iran[/caption]
“There’s plenty of time to do some dastardly things… right now we’re in a very, very powerful position,” Trump said.
His comments came after the Saudis displayed missile and drone wreckage and cited other evidence they said shows the attack was “unquestionably sponsored by Iran”.
Iran, which has denied involvement in the devastating attack, warned the US it will retaliate immediately if it is targeted.
Trump said he is moving to increase financial sanctions on Tehran over Saturday’s attacks which rocked global oil supplies.
During a press conference while fundraising for his re-election campaign in California, the US President said he is still considering his options.
The Saudis displayed missile and drone wreckage which they said shows the attack was ‘unquestionably sponsored by Iran’[/caption]
“It’s very easy to start,” he said about military action.
“If we have to do something, we’ll do it without hesitation,” he said, adding that “the ultimate option” was still on the table.
When asked if the “ultimate option” was war, the commander-in-chief backtracked, saying he did mean war but wasn’t considering that option as of now.
“I actually think it’s a sign of strength,” the president said.
“It’s very easy to attack,” he continued, bringing up the second Iraq war.
“How did that work out?” he asked hypothetically.
Some 18 drones and seven cruise missiles were launched in Saturday’s assault, with three missiles failing to make their targets, according to Saudi officials.
Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was in response to the Saudi-led war in Yemen that has killed tens of thousands of people.
But Saudi military spokesman Col. Turki al-Malki said the attack was “launched from the north and was unquestionably sponsored by Iran.”
He said the cruise missiles had a range of 700 kilometers (435 miles), meaning they could not have been fired from inside Yemen.
Yemen is south of Saudi Arabia, while Iran and Iraq lie to the north.
At a news conference, the Saudis displayed broken and burned drones and pieces of a cruise missile that Al-Malki identified as Iranian weapons collected after the attack.
He also played surveillance video that he said showed a drone coming in from the north.
“This is the kind of weapon the Iranian regime and the Iranian IRGC are using against the civilian object and facilities infrastructure,” Al-Malki said, referring to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.
He added: “This attack did not originate from Yemen, despite Iran’s best effort to make it appear so.”
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities an “act of war”.
Pompeo landed in Saudi Arabia shortly after the news conference.
He said: “The Saudis were the nation that was attacked. It was on their soil.
“It was an act of war against them directly.”
He said en route to Saudi Arabia that “it doesn’t matter” whether the Houthis claim they were behind the attack.
“This was an Iranian attack,” he said.
“It doesn’t change the fingerprints of the ayatollah as having put at risk the global energy supply,” Pompeo said, referring to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The attack came after a summer of heightened tensions between Iran and the US over Trump’s withdrawal from the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal.
Iran sent a note to the US via Swiss diplomats Monday, reiterating that Tehran denies involvement in the aerial attack, the country’s state-run IRNA news agency reported.
The Swiss have looked after American interests in Iran for decades.
“If any action takes place against Iran, the action will be faced by Iran’s answer immediately,” IRNA quoted the note as saying.
It added that Iran’s response wouldn’t be limited to the source of the threat.
The US State Department had no comment on the warning.
Trump, meanwhile, tweeted: “I have just instructed the Secretary of the Treasury to substantially increase Sanctions on the country of Iran!”
He did not elaborate, and it was not immediately clear what further means are available since he has already cut deeply into Iran’s oil market.
National Security Council officials declined to comment.
IRNA also reported that Iran’s delegation to the annual U.N. General Assembly meeting has yet to receive the necessary U.S. visas.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was to travel to New York on Friday, with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani following on Monday.
The U.N. meeting had been considered as an opportunity for direct talks between Rouhani and Trump.
Asked in Los Angeles whether Rouhani will come to New York, Trump said, “I really don’t know. If it was up to me, I’d let them come.”
“I’ve always felt the United Nations is very important,” he added.
“I think it’s got tremendous potential. I don’t think it’s ever lived up to the potential it has. But I would certainly not want to keep people out if they want to come.”
As the host of the U.N.’s headquarters, the U.S. is required to offer world leaders and diplomats visas to attend meetings.
But as tensions have risen, the US has put increasing restrictions on Iranians like Zarif.
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Tensions in the oil-producing Gulf region has dramatically escalated this year after Trump imposed severe sanctions on Iran aimed at halting its oil exports altogether in a bid to shut down its nuclear weapons programme.
In June Iran’s ruthless Revolutionary Guard was blamed for attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.
Iran seized the British flagged Stena Impero on July 19 shortly after the UK detained a vessel in Gibraltar that was allegedly carrying Iranian crude oil to Syria.
Officials said the photos show impacts consistent with the attack coming from the direction of Iran or Iraq[/caption]
US officials have released images showing damage to Saudi Aramco’s Khurais oil field in Saudi Arabia[/caption]
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