US ‘locked and loaded’ to respond to Saudi oil attack, says Trump
Washington, September 16
President Donald Trump said on Sunday the US is “locked and loaded” to respond to an attack on Saudi oil infrastructure that Washington had blamed on Iran, as Riyadh raced to restart operations at plants hit by drone attacks.
It is the first time the President has hinted at a potential American military response to the attack, which slashed Saudi oil production by half and led both the Kingdom and the United States to announce they might tap their strategic reserves.
“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!” Trump tweeted.
The Tehran-backed Huthi rebels in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is bogged down in a five-year war, claimed Saturday’s strikes on two plants owned by state energy giant Aramco.
But US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pointed the finger squarely at Tehran, saying there was no evidence the “unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply” was launched from Yemen.
“The United States will work with our partners and allies to ensure that energy markets remain well supplied and Iran is held accountable for its aggression,” the top US diplomat said.
That drew an angry response from Tehran, where foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said: “Such fruitless and blind accusations and remarks are incomprehensible and meaningless.”
The remarks were designed to damage Iran’s reputation and provide a pretext for “future actions” against the Islamic republic, he added. AFP