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Trump says he does not want war after attack on Saudi oil facilities

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Trump says he does not want war after attack on Saudi oil facilities

By Steve Holland and Rania El Gamal

 

2019-09-16T142733Z_1_LYNXMPEF8F0ZX_RTROPTP_4_SAUDI-ARAMCO.JPG

A satellite image showing damage to oil/gas Saudi Aramco infrastructure at Khurais, in Saudi Arabia in this handout picture released by the U.S Government September 15, 2019. U.S. Government/DigitalGlobe/Handout via REUTERS

 

WASHINGTON/DUBAI (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday said it looked like Iran was behind attacks on oil plants in Saudi Arabia but stressed he did not want to go to war, as the attacks sent oil prices soaring and raised fears of a new Middle East conflict.

 

Iran has rejected U.S. charges 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.

 

Relations between the United States and Iran have deteriorated since Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear accord last year and reimposed sanctions over Tehran's nuclear and ballistic programs. Washington also wants to pressure Tehran to end its support of regional proxy forces, including in Yemen where Saudi forces have been fighting Iran-backed Houthis for four years.

 

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday that it looked like Iran was responsible for attacks over the weekend on Saudi Arabian oil plants. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

 

The United States was still investigating if Iran was behind the Saudi strikes, Trump said, but "it's certainly looking that way at this moment."

 

Trump, who has spent much of his presidency trying to disentangle the United States from wars he inherited, made clear, however, he was 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 U.S. 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 United States was "locked and loaded" to respond to the incident, Trump said on Monday 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.

 

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% of world crude oil production.

 

Oil prices surged by as much as 19% after the incidents but later came off their peaks. The intraday jump was the biggest since the 1990-91 Gulf crisis over Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.

 

The market eased from its peak after Trump said he would release U.S. emergency supplies and producers said there were enough stocks stored up worldwide to make up for the shortfall. Prices were around 12% higher by afternoon in the United States.

 

SAUDI SUSPICIONS

Saudi Arabia said the attacks were carried out with Iranian weapons, adding that it was capable of responding forcefully and urging U.N. 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.

 

"The kingdom is capable of defending its land and people and responding forcefully to those attacks," the statement added.

 

Saudi Arabia and Iran have been enemies for decades and are fighting a number of proxy wars.

 

Trump said he had not made commitments to protect the Saudis.

 

"No, I haven't promised Saudis that. We have to sit down with the Saudis and work something out," he said. "That was an attack on Saudi Arabia, and that wasn't an attack on us. But we would certainly help them."

 

Two sources briefed on state oil company Saudi Aramco's operations told Reuters 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. At least 11 supertankers were waiting to load oil cargoes from Saudi ports, ship tracking data showed on Monday.

 

RISING TENSIONS

Tension in the oil-producing Gulf region has dramatically escalated this year after Trump imposed severe U.S. sanctions on Iran aimed at halting its oil exports altogether.

 

For months, Iranian officials have issued veiled threats, saying that if Tehran is blocked from exporting oil, other countries will not be able to do so either. But Iran has denied a role in specific attacks, including bombings of tankers in the Gulf and previous strikes claimed by the Houthis.

 

U.S. allies in Europe oppose Trump's "maximum pressure" strategy, arguing that it provides no clear mechanism to resolve issues, creating a risk the enemies could stumble into war.

 

Trump has said his goal is to force Iran to negotiate a tougher agreement and has left open the possibility of talks with Rouhani at an upcoming U.N. meeting. Iran says there can be no talks until Washington lifts sanctions.

 

U.N. Yemen envoy Martin Griffiths told the U.N. Security Council on Monday it was "not entirely clear" who was behind the strike but he said it had increased the chances of a regional conflict.

 

But the U.S. ambassador to the world body, Kelly Craft, said emerging information on the attacks "indicates that responsibility lies with Iran" and that there is no evidence the attack came from Yemen.

 

Iran's Yemeni allies have promised more strikes to come. Houthi military spokesman Yahya Sarea said the group carried out Saturday's predawn attack with drones, including some powered by jet engines.

 

"We assure the Saudi regime that our long arm can reach any place we choose and at the time of our choosing," Sarea tweeted. "We warn companies and foreigners against being near the plants that we struck because they are still in our sights."

 

U.S. officials say they believe that the attacks came from the opposite direction, possibly from Iran itself rather than Yemen, and may have involved cruise missiles. Wherever the attacks were launched, however, they believe Iran is to blame.

 

The attacks have raised questions about how the kingdom, one of the world's top spenders on weaponry, much of it supplied by U.S. companies, was unable to protect oil plants from attack.

 

Sensing a commercial opening, President Vladimir Putin said Russia was ready to help Saudi Arabia by providing Russian-made air defense systems to protect Saudi infrastructure.

 

Russia and China said it was wrong to jump to conclusions about who was to blame for the attack on Saudi Arabia.

 

(Reporting by Steve Holland in Washington and Rania El Gamal in Dubai; Writing by William Maclean, Mike Collett-White and Doina Chiacu; Editing by Alistair Bell and Peter Cooney)

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2019-09-17

 

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13 minutes ago, webfact said:

"I'm somebody that would like not to have war," Trump said.

[...]

A day after saying the United States was "locked and loaded" to respond to the incident, Trump said on Monday there was "no rush" to do so.

 

If war, it has to be a victory and not last very long (like Grenada) so he can campaign on his heroism.

 

 

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Trump talks a great game but If he wanted war, he would not have cut Bolton loose. More sanctions, get France in line, get the euros in with the sanction program etc etc. It's good for him.

 

And I would be surprised to find that the Mad Mullahs did not do this. They play the Nationalism game too. Kidnapping British Tankers, telling the US to shovel it. It's all good ................. tell it's not

 

 

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Men in turbans will continue to blow things up until sanctions are lifted🤔

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Must make the trump supporters head spin.

 

Hes locked and loaded....they all agree hes the best. Bomb iran.

 

Oh maybe not, we dont want to do it.....yes donald right move dont do it.

 

 

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1 hour ago, sammieuk1 said:

Men in turbans will continue to blow things up until sanctions are lifted🤔

 

Things got blown up way before sanctions were in place. Things will get blown up long after the sanctions will be lifted.

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40 minutes ago, Tug said:

If Donald dident want war why did he break the treaty and try to strangle their country?kkinda tends to <deleted> people off when they can’t feed their family’s and take care of their sick 

 

Sanctions aren't war. They are means to apply pressure without going to war. And as much as some may object to them, they are preferable to the real thing. Iran was under international sanctions for a long while, prior to Trump taking office. Was the international community seeking war with Iran back then? Or were they just means to pressure Iran into meeting its obligations?

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4 minutes ago, OneMoreFarang said:

I didn't write Trump is the only one to blame.

But fact is Obama and the other international leaders made a deal with Iran. And Iran followed that deal to the letter. They didn't enrich uranium anymore and they didn't work on any nuclear weapon. International inspectors confirmed all this.

 

And then Trump breached the contract. And then Trump put harsh sanctions on Iran.

Did Trumps action make the situation better or worse?

Did Trump expect that the Iranians just do anything he wants? Why should they?

It's like Trump kicking a dangerous dog again and again. And then Trump and the rest of the word is surprised that the dog doesn't like it.

 

Your post was essentially this - if Trump wouldn't have quit the deal all would have been well.

How is this not solely focused on Trump, I don't know.

 

That you consistently insist on ignoring or glossing over how and why the JCPOA came to into being, and what preceded it, doesn't lend your posts much credibility. Same goes for avoiding anything that relates to Iran's own regional policies and actions.

 

I'm not arguing Trump's actions improved things. Far from it. Said on many posts it was a stupid move. That still doesn't make your comment any less narrow-visioned, or relating to the whole picture.

 

After managing to repeat Trump's name seven times in about the same number of lines, your initial denial is all the more amusing.

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Trump does not want a war,Kim will love this!!!

Expect more missiles to fly soon.

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