Saudi Arabia on Friday took media on a tour of oil facilities damaged by attacks that Washington and Riyadh blame on Iran, showing melted pipes and burnt equipment, as Tehran vowed wide retaliation if heightened tensions boil over into hostilities.
Pompeo's remarks in Saudi Arabia also came hours after President Trump tweeted that he had ordered Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to "substantially increase sanctions" on Iran, amid escalating tensions between the two countries. But the Treasury Department said that it was imposing sanctions for the additional reason of "terrorism", saying the central bank had provided "billions of dollars" to two forces blacklisted by the United States.
Iran has denied involvement and warned the United States that any attack will spark an "all-out war" with immediate retaliation. We don't want to engage in a military confrontation.
"I can not have any confidence that they did it because we just heard their statement", Zarif told CNN.
He added: "But we won't blink to defend our territory". "That's my mission, that's what President Trump certainly wants me to work to achieve and I hope that the Islamic Republic of Iran sees it that way", Pompeo told reporters. It was on their soil.
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He called it an "act of war". United Nations officials monitoring sanctions on Iran and Yemen are also helping probe the attack, which exposed gaps in Saudi air defences despite billions spent on Western military hardware.
The New York Times said Thursday that Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. will present the potential military options and potential targets to Trump.
Pompeo, who arrived in the UAE from Saudi Arabia on Thursday for talks with Abu Dhabi's crown prince, welcomed the move on Twitter: "Recent events underscore the importance of protecting global commerce and freedom of navigation".
Saudi Arabia, which is leading a coalition of Arab states fighting against the Huthis, on September 18 put on display drone and missile fragments that it said were used in the attack.
Iran has denied the charges from the start, responding with fury to the accusation and going as far as to threaten USA bases with missile strikes. The UAE is a close ally of Saudi Arabia and joined the kingdom in its war in Yemen against the Houthis. "There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!"
Iran has denied any involvement in the September 14 attack which ratcheted up tensions between Washington and Tehran. Officials are trying to determine if they can get navigational information from the debris that could provide hard evidence that the strikes came from Iran. But they note that in June, he opted to have US military cyber forces carry out what was a less visible strike, launching a digital hit on military computer systems used by Iran's Revolutionary Guard to control rocket and missile launchers, according to USA officials.