US President Donald Trump said on Monday that it looks like Iran was behind the weekend attacks on Saudi oil facilities, but stressed that he wants to avoid war, Reuters reports.
The United States is still investigating if Iran was behind the Saudi strikes, but “it’s certainly looking that way at this moment,” Trump said.
The president, however, made clear that he is not going to rush into a new conflict on behalf of Saudi Arabia.
“I’m somebody that would like not to have war,” Trump said.
Several US Cabinet members, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Energy Secretary Rick Perry, have blamed Tehran for the strikes. Pompeo and others will travel to Saudi Arabia soon, Trump said.
A day after saying the US was “locked and loaded” to respond to the incident, Trump said on Monday that there was “no rush” to do so.
“We have a lot of options but I’m not looking at options right now. We want to find definitively who did this,” he said.
Iran has rejected US charges that it was behind the strikes on Saturday that damaged the world’s biggest crude-processing plant and triggered the largest jump in crude prices in decades.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the strikes were carried out by “Yemeni people” retaliating for attacks by a Saudi-led military coalition in a war with the Houthi movement.
“Yemeni people are exercising their legitimate right of defense,” Rouhani told reporters during a visit to Ankara.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi called the allegations “unacceptable and entirely baseless.”
The attacks cut 5 percent of world crude oil production. Oil prices surged by as much as 19 percent after the incidents but later came off their peaks.
Saudi Arabia said the attacks were carried out with Iranian weapons, adding that it is capable of responding forcefully and urging UN experts to help investigate the raid.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said Iranian threats were not only directed against the kingdom but against the Middle East and the world.
While the prince did not directly accuse Tehran, a Foreign Ministry statement reported him as calling on the international community to condemn whoever was behind the strike.
Saudi Arabia and Iran have been enemies for decades and are fighting a number of proxy wars.
Two sources briefed on state oil company Saudi Aramco’s operations told Reuters that it might take months for Saudi oil production to return to normal. Earlier estimates had suggested it could take weeks.
Saudi Arabia said it would be able to meet oil customers’ demand from its ample storage, although some deliveries had been disrupted.
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