Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Saturday that it’s time for the U.S. to weigh an attack on Iranian oil refineries if the nation continues its “provocations.” He warned that such a raid would “break the regime’s back.”
Graham raised the possibility of U.S. military action following drone attacks early Saturday on a massive oil field and the world’s largest oil producing facility in Saudi Arabia that disrupted 50% of Saudi oil output — and 5% of the global supply.
Yemen’s Houthi rebels have taken responsibility for the bombings amid a war led by the Saudis against the Iranian-backed Houthis. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Saturday that Iran was responsible.
Pompeo said in a tweet Saturday that “Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia while Rouhani and Zarif pretend to engage in diplomacy,” referring to Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani and his foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. “Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy,” he added.
President Donald Trump, who’s currently trying to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, just last week suggested lifting some American sanctions against Iran — and had talked of meeting soon with Rouhani.
The Daily Beast reported that Trump was also considering giving Iran a $15 billion line of credit if the nation would comply with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Trump withdrew from the agreement last year, and Iran has since decided not to comply with the pact. NBC said Saturday that former national security adviser John Bolton quit the administration Tuesday because he strongly opposed lifting any sanctions against Tehran.
The president called Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Saturday to offer support for the nation’s “self defense,” according to the White House. It wasn’t clear what that might entail. The White House also said in a statement that the U.S. “remains committed to ensuring global oil markets are stable and well supplied.”
Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut lashed Pompeo’s assessment of the attack on Saudi oil as simplistic. “The Saudis and Houthis are at war,” he tweeted. “The Saudis attack the Houthis and the Houthis attack back. Iran is backing the Houthis and has been a bad actor, but it’s just not as simple as Houthis = Iran.”