U.S. to ratchet up economic pressure on Iran

U.S. President Donald Trump announced his decision to ratchet up economic pressure against Iran even further, after emerging evidence that the Islamic Republic’s Revolutionary Guards Corps was behind the September 14th attacks on two major oil plants in Saudi Arabia. Speaking alongside his newly-appointed National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien, President Trump said he will announce the latest list of “very significant sanctions on Iran”  over the next two days. When asked to comment on a possible military response to the ‘Iranian-orchestrated’ attack, Trump only replied “We’ll see what happens.”

According to a spokesman from Saudi Arabia’s Defense Ministry, the Islamic Republic made a failed attempt to conceal its involvement in the strikes. “We know the capability for the previous information that we have recovered from a previous attack,” said Turki al-Malki, adding that “We do have a lot of evidence against the IRGC, and we will provide it to the United Nations, and through the right channel – according to the international law.”

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani responded to the allegations in a televised address from Tehran, by accusing “Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, America, certain European countries and the Zionist regime” which he said “started the war in this region.”

Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami mirrored Rouhani’s effort to evade blame for the Saudi oil strikes, by claiming ”The issue is completely clear and these claims and accusations are firstly completely, seriously, and decisively rejected.” He went on to assert that, “on the other hand, I believe they would not work anyway – because no reason, no evidence, and no document is provided” to prove the allegations.

The Iranian leaders’ reactions came in the wake of statements U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made amid his current visit to Saudi Arabia, that the attacks were tantamount to an ‘act of war.’