Donald Trump said Sunday that the United States was “locked and loaded” for a potential response to the attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities after a senior administration official said Iran was at fault.
Trump also agreed to use the US’s emergency oil stockpile to ensure stable supplies, after the attack shut down 5% of global production and sent crude prices soaring to 19% before settling at a 10% gain.
A senior US official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, had already told reporters that they believed Iran was behind the attack on world’s biggest oil-processing facility, rather than the Yemeni Houthi group, which Iran backs, that had claimed responsibility. The official said there were 19 points of impact in the attack, which showed the launch area to be west-northwest, rather than in Yemen in the south.
They said: “There’s no doubt that Iran is responsible for this. No matter how you slice it, there’s no escaping it. There’s no other candidate.”
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo further said there was no evidence the attack came from Yemen, where the Saudi-led coalition, in support of the legitimate Yemeni government, has been fighting the Houthis for four years.
Pompeo said: “Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply.”
Senior Revolutionary Guards Commander Amirali Hajizadeh said Iran was ready for a “full-fledged” war and that all American bases and aircraft carriers “up to 2,000 kilometers around Iran” are in the range of their missiles.
Meantime On November 3, 2018, Friday prayer, Ahmad Alamalhoda, Khamenei’s representative in the city of Mashhad, threatened an attack on Aramco oil facility in Saudi Arabia.
“Ghaher missiles, along with the necessary technology, have been provided to the Ansarollah (Houthis)… Once Iran issues its orders, these are enough for the Saudi Aramco oil facility. It will be able to take down all these oil facilities,” he said.
It’s worth noting that Saudi Arabia has previously blamed Iran for attacks on oil-pumping stations and the Shaybah oil field.
US-Iran tensions are already at a high after the US pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal, citing Iranian noncompliance, and began imposing sanctions on Iran.
Richard Nephew, a program director at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy, said that if Iran had carried out the attack, it might be in retaliation for US sanctions.
He said: “They are making decisions about whether and how to respond to what they see as a massive attack on their interests from the US via sanctions by attacking US interests in turn, and those of US partners they believe are responsible for US policy.”