Time: September 19, 2019
- Pompeo described the drone and cruise missile strikes on Saturday as an ‘Iranian attack’
- Pompeo was met at Jeddah airport by Saudi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf.
JEDDAH: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday said Iranian strikes on key Saudi oil installations will not go unpunished as he reaffirmed his country’s support for Saudi Arabia in a meeting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
“The U.S. stands with #SaudiArabia and supports its right to defend itself. The Iranian regime’s threatening behavior will not be tolerated,” Pompeo tweeted after the meeting in Jeddah.
Pompeo stressed during the meeting that the US supports the steps taken by the Saudi Arabia for international experts to investigate the source of the attacks on Saudi Aramco in Abqaiq and Khurais on Sept. 14, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
Houthi militias in Yemen had initially claimed responsibility for the drone and cruise missile strikes, but Pompeo said it was an “Iranian attack”.
He said the strikes had not come from the Iran-backed Houthi militants and that there was no evidence the attacks had been launched from Iraq.
“This is an attack of a scale we’ve just not seen before,” he added.
For his part, the Crown Prince stressed during the meeting that these attacks were aimed at destabilizing the region’s security and damaging global energy supplies and economy.
The meeting was attended by Prince Khalid bin Salman, Deputy Minister of Defense, and Dr. Musaed AlAiban, State Minister and Member of Council of Ministers, as well as the US Ambassador in Riyadh John Abizaid.
Pompeo was met at Jeddah airport by Saudi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf.
Pompeo’s visit comes as President Donald Trump said on Wednesday there were many options short of war with Iran after Saudi Arabia’s display of remnants of drones and missiles it said were used in the I 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,” Trump told reporters in Los Angeles. “I’m saying the ultimate option meaning go in — war.”
Trump, who earlier said on Twitter that he had ordered the US Treasury to “substantially increase” sanctions on Iran, told reporters the unspecified, punitive economic measures would be unveiled within 48 hours.
Trump’s tweet followed repeated US assertions that the Islamic Republic was behind Saturday’s attack on Aramco facilities and came hours after Saudi Arabia said the strike was a “test of global will.”
Earlier on Wednesday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he had spoken with US President Donald Trump about the Aramco attack, and agreed that Iran must not be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon.
Also on Wednesday, Kuwait’s army released a statement announcing it was raising its preparedness level for some units, given the tensions in the Middle East region.