U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has concluded a trip to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, where he held consultations on “challenges and threats” posed by the Islamic Republic of Iran. Prior to his return to Washington, the American top diplomat said he believes “abundantly clear and there is an enormous consensus in the region that we know precisely” that Tehran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards were behind the recent attacks on Saudi oil installations, which he said demands an international response to ‘reintroduce genuine security to the volatile region.’ Secretary Pompeo added that “I didn’t hear anybody in the region who doubted that for a single moment,” going on to point out Iranian infractions. “They’ve taken out an American UAV, conducted the largest attack on the globe’s energy in an awfully long time,” said Pompeo, while stressing “ he came to the region “in an act of diplomacy while the foreign minister of Iran is threatening all out war to fight to the last American.” He then reiterated, “We’re here to build out a coalition aimed at achieving peace and a peaceful resolution to this. That’s my mission set. That’s was President Trump certainly wants me to work to achieve. And I hope that the Islamic Republic of Iran sees it the same way.”
Meanwhile, France has dismissed claims of responsibility by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen for the Saudi oil attacks, while announcing Paris will renew its efforts to defuse tensions between the U.S. and Iran at the opening of the United Nations General Assembly in New York next week. While French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves LeDrian emphasized his country’s continued efforts to de-escalate the situation in the Persian Gulf, he acknowledged that Tehran’s orchestrated attacks against Saudi oil facilities ‘constitute an act of war.’
The Houthis have vowed to forcefully retaliate for any attacks against them in response the incident, which they unrelentingly insist they carried out. Speaking from the Yemeni capital of Sanaa, Houthi Spokesman Yahya Saria said that “We will not hesitate to respond to this aggression, and we will use our right to target all of the legitimate targets within the depths of the countries of aggression.” He also expressed gratitude to both Iran and Turkey for their continued support against the Gulf Arab states.