Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 15 October 2019

Donald Trump orders 'substantial' sanctions on Iran after Saudi attack

The US president has instructed the treasury to ramp up financial pressure

US President Donald Trump boards Air Force One as he departs from Mountain View, California on September 17, 2019. AFP 
US President Donald Trump boards Air Force One as he departs from Mountain View, California on September 17, 2019. AFP 

United States President Donald Trump has ordered the Treasury to increase financial pressure on Iran with “substantial” sanctions, he tweeted on Wednesday just days after the administration blamed Tehran for an attack on Saudi Aramco oil processing facilities.

On September 14, the world’s largest oil processing facility in the kingdom’s eastern region was hit in an attack that took out nearly half of Saudi Arabia’s crude oil processing capacity.

The US has blamed Iran and warned of severe repercussions.

"I have just instructed the Secretary of the Treasury to substantially increase Sanctions on the country of Iran!" Mr Trump tweeted.

The kingdom has been working to restore production as fast as possible and on Tuesday evening Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said that the country's oil output would be "back to normal" by the end of the month.

The US president and vice president have both said the country is “locked and loaded” and ready to respond. However, Mr Trump has said that he is waiting for Saudi Arabia to advise.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is headed to Saudi Arabia and the UAE to discuss the regional situation and the next steps.

There has been substantial speculation about what the US response to the incident would be with American politicians advising for and against a military strike.

Mr Trump and other White House officials have said that they are not seeking a conflict with Iran, but are not afraid to take action against Iranian aggression.

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Defence is scheduled to give a press conference on Wednesday evening to present evidence that Iran was behind the attack.

The development comes just days after the Saudi-led Arab coalition in Yemen said that the attack did not come from the Houthi rebels despite their claim of responsibility. While the coalition said that Iranian weapons appeared to have been used, it did not directly attribute blame for the attack on Tehran.

Updated: September 18, 2019 09:26 PM

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