President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday, Sept. 18, on Twitter that he will substantially increase sanctions against Iran for its role in bombing an oil facility in Saudi Arabia on Saturday.
“I have just instructed the Secretary of the Treasury to substantially increase sanctions on the country of Iran,” President Trump tweeted.
The attack on the world’s largest crude oil processing plant known as Aramco on Sept. 14 led to the suspension of production of 5.7 million barrels of oil per day, more than half the country’s production and about 6% of world supply.
Saudi army spokesman Col. Turki al-Malki said at a press conference on Wednesday that Saturday’s attack was “launched from the north and was unquestionably sponsored by Iran,” according to Time, although Tehran denies the accusation.
At the press conference, the Saudis showed broken and burnt drones and pieces of a cruise missile that Al-Malki identified as Iranian weapons collected after the attack.
He also played a surveillance video that, according to him, showed an unmanned aerial vehicle coming 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.
“This attack did not originate from Yemen, despite Iran’s best effort to make it appear so,” he added, referring to the Houthi group in Yemen, with whom Saudi Arabia has been at war since 2015 and who has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Trump administration officials said 17 missiles were used in the attack, contradicting the Houthi group’s claim that they launched 10 unmanned aerial vehicles from Yemen, according to the Wall Street Journal.
France, the United Kingdom, and Japan have not publicly said that they believe Iran is behind the attacks.
However, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has an explanation for this ‘skepticism’ and wrote about it on Twitter:
“Foreign allies aren’t really “skeptical of U.S. intelligence” that proves #Iran conducted the attack on #SaudiArabia. They know full well it’s true. They just don’t want to admit it because it would mean having to do something about it.”
President Trump told reporters Wednesday that he has “many options” for resolving the situation and that the United States is in a “very powerful position,” CBS News reported.
“We’ll see what happens, a lot of things could happen. If we could have a peaceful solution, that’s good,” the president added before flying in for a presidential election campaign fundraiser.
President Trump had shown his willingness, prior to the attack, to meet with the Iranian leader on the occasion of the upcoming United Nations meeting of world leaders.
However, it is now unclear whether representatives of the Tehran regime will obtain a visa to enter the country to attend the international summit.