US military to present several options to Trump on Iran

16 2015 shows a Saudi F-15 fighter jet

The attacks have reignited fears over a wider conflagration in the region, as tensions remain high over Iran's collapsing nuclear deal with world powers. State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement that the USA and Saudi Arabia agree Saturday's attack was "unacceptable".

Earlier, in a letter handed over to the US interest section in the Swiss embassy inTehran, the Iranian Foreign Ministry warned against possible military action by America.

Eighteen drones and seven cruise missiles were launched in the assault, Al-Malki said, with three missiles failing to hit their targets. For years, Iran has said that no Persian Gulf countries would succeed in exporting oil if the United States reduces the Islamic republic's oil exports to zero.

"I was here as an act of diplomacy while the foreign minister of Iran is threatening all-out war and to fight 'til the last American", Pompeo said.

Most Trump critics applauded U.S. restraint, claiming that the United States had under no obligation to Riyadh, but blamed Trump's rhetorical bluster and his policy of "maximum pressure" on Iran for driving the region to the brink of conflict.

In some ways, Trump's actions have borne this Iranian strategy out; after Iran struck tankers and shot down a us drone in June, for instance, Trump merely zeroed in on Iran's nuclear and missile programs in talks, ignoring other aspects of Iran's regional strategy that he originally castigated.

Commenting on the development of events after accusing Iran of being behind the attack on Saudi Aramco factories in Abqaiq and Khurais, Panetta said: "As a minister, I have always been concerned over the possibility of launching a military campaign on Iran, as it will look nothing like our strike against Syria".

Trump's decision not to retaliate against Iran drew criticism from Republican hawks like Senator Lindsey Graham who said that USA inaction "was clearly seen by the Iranian regime as a sign of weakness".

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia broke its cautious silence about who was responsible on Wednesday, blaming Iran, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who was visiting Riyadh also blamed Iran and called the strike "an act of war". United Nations officials monitoring sanctions on Iran and Yemen are also helping probe the attack, which exposed gaps in Saudi air defences despite billions spent on Western military hardware.

"The attack was launched from the north and unquestionably sponsored by Iran", defence ministry spokesman Turki al-Maliki said, although he refused to be drawn on whether Saudi officials believed Iran directly carried out the operation.

Tehran, which has gradually scaled back its nuclear commitments, has rejected any talks unless sanctions are lifted.

It's likely the United States already has some elements of the above in play against Iran, but it's also likely that those efforts could be escalated further.

At the press conference Wednesday, the Saudis displayed broken and burned drones and pieces of a cruise missile that military spokesman Col. That opinion was shared by weapons experts who spoke to The Associated Press.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Thursday that the Houthi claim "lacks credibility".

"This is not very credible, relatively speaking", he told CNews television on Thursday.

IRNA also reported that Iran's delegation to the annual U.N. General Assembly meeting has yet to receive the necessary USA visas.

The statement is consistent with Iran's asymmetrical warfare strategy which is based on responding to threats at a time and place the adversaries do not expect.

But the commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, Major General Hossein Salami, said on Thursday his country was "so powerful that they are forced to falsely accuse us" of being behind any incident. "If it was up to me, I'd let them come".

As the host of the U.N.'s headquarters, the required to offer world leaders and diplomats visas to attend meetings. But as tensions have risen, the US has put increasing restrictions on Iranians like Zarif.



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