President Donald Trump on Wednesday said he ordered a major increase in sanctions on Iran, the first response by the U.S. to the attacks on two key oil installations in Saudi Arabia, according to reports.
The pronouncement by Trump comes as both U.S. and Saudi officials ready evidence that points the finger at Iran for the destructive attacks.
“I have just instructed the Secretary of the Treasury to substantially increase Sanctions on the country of Iran!” the President said on Twitter. Further details about the sanctions were not provided by Trump.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to Saudi Arabia today “to discuss a response” with America’s Arab allies. That Pompeo is making a trip with short notice “underscores the danger that tensions with Iran could spiral into a military conflict,” the Washington Post reports.
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman said that the Kingdom can and will defend itself against what he called “cowardly attacks” that knocked out half of its oil production, but he also called on the international community to “clearly confront” the perpetrators. Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, spoke with Russia’s Vladimir Putin yesterday.
While the attacks were highly damaging, Saudi Arabia continues to make major strides in ameliorating the Kingdom’s lost production. Just days after the attack sent oil prices up nearly 20% before retreating slightly, Saudi Arabia said that it had restored half of the lost production and that full, pre-attack levels of production would resume within a month, according to comments by energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman.
Saudi Arabia’s finance minister, Mohammed al-Jadaan, said on Wednesday that Aramco’s announcement of restoring production “proved it can swiftly deal with any crisis.”