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Trump says US is 'locked and loaded' in response to attack on Saudi oil supply

Rosie Perper , Business Insider US
 Sep 16, 2019, 09:33 AM
Donald Trump Saudi Arabia
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  • President Donald Trump said in a tweet on Sunday that America was "locked and loaded" in response to an attack on Saudi Arabia's oil facilities.
  • The Saturday attacks shut down production on roughly 5% of the world's daily production of crude oil, equal to about 5 million barrels.
  • Yemen's Houthi rebel group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but US officials have cast doubt on that narrative and have pointed a finger towards Iran.
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a tweet on Saturday that Iran launched "an unprecedented attack on the world's energy supply."
  • For more stories go to www.businessinsider.co.za.

President Donald Trump on Sunday evening said that America is "locked and loaded" in response to an attack on Saudi oil facilities that has wiped out nearly half of the Kingdom's oil production.

Trump in a tweet said that his administration has "reason to believe that we know the culprit," and hinted that the US was prepared to act upon "verification" of its suspicions.

Trump's statements follow comments made earlier by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, pinning the blame on Iran for the Saturday attacks, which shut down production on roughly 5% of the world's daily production of crude oil, equal to about 5 million barrels.

"Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world's energy supply," he said in a tweet on Saturday.

The strike was claimed by Yemen's Houthi rebel group, who said they used drones to set the two major oil facilities ablaze. But Saudi and US officials have cast doubt on that narrative, stating that evidence suggests that the attack was launched from Iran.

A senior US official told media, including Reuters, that evidence indicated the attack was launched from west-northwest of the facilities, the direction of Iran. The official added that Saudi officials suggested that those responsible may have used cruise missiles to launch the attack.

"There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen," Pompeo said in his tweet. He also called on global leaders 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," he wrote in a follow-up tweet.

Iran says it's prepared for a 'full-fledged war'

Tehran has denied allegations that it orchestrated the attack. Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Sunday that Pompeo's statements were "obscure and meaningless" for diplomatic progress, semi-official Tasnim news agency reported.

The agency also quoted a senior Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander as saying that the country was prepared for a "full-fledged war."

"Everybody should know that all American bases and their vessels in a distance of up to 2,000 kilometers [from Iran borders] are within the range of our missiles," General Amir Ali Hajizadeh said on Saturday.

Oil prices on Monday skyrocketed to their highest levels in six months, according to Reuters, while US crude futures climbed 15%.

White House Adviser Kellyanne Conway did not rule out a meeting between Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, but told Fox News Sunday that recent attacks "did not help" prospects. She added that the administration was keeping "many options on the table" in regards to potential retaliation.

"This president and his national security team keep many options on the table particularly when it comes to retaliating against malign behaviour," she said.

Trump on Sunday night tweeted that news suggesting that he would be willing to meet with Iran with "no conditions" was "fake news."

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