Trump Battles To Avoid War With Iran

By Irina Slav

Trump Pompeo

“I’m somebody that would like not to have war,” U.S. President Donald Trump told media following a tweet in which he said the U.S. was “locked and loaded” to respond to a drone attack on Saudi oil infrastructure that sent markets into a frenzy.

Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Energy Secretary Rick Perry all blamed Iran for the attack despite a statement from the Iran-affiliated Houthi rebels in Yemen who took responsibility for the attacks that cut an estimated 5.7 million bpd in production capacity from global supply.

The investigation into who launched the attacks is still in progress but, according to Trump, it looks like Iran was behind it, Reuters reports.

“We have a lot of options but I’m not looking at options right now. We want to find definitively who did this,” the U.S. president said.

The attacks hit a Saudi oil field and a processing facility in Saturday. A day later, Trump tweeted: “Saudi Arabia oil supply was attacked. 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 the accusations, with a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry calling them “unacceptable and entirely baseless.” Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said the attacks were carried out by Yemenis in response to Saudi-led attacks.

“Yemeni people are exercising their legitimate right of defense,” Rouhani said on Monday. A day earlier, the Houthis took responsibility for the attack, warning that more would follow. In May this year, the Iran-affiliated group said they were launching a major offensive that would target more than 300 locations in both Saudi Arabia and the UAE—the coalition partners fighting the Houthis on behalf of Yemen’s elected president, which the rebels ousted.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com