World

Trump: Many options short of war with Iran

LOS ANGELES/JEDDAH : US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that there were many options short of war with Iran after US ally Saudi Arabia displayed remnants of drones and missiles it said were used in a crippling attack on its oil sites that was "unquestionably sponsored" by Teheran.

"There are many options. There's the ultimate option and there are options that are a lot less than that. And we'll see," Mr Trump told reporters in Los Angeles.

"I'm saying the ultimate option meaning go in - war."

The president struck a cautious note as his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, during a visit to Saudi Arabia, described the attacks as "an act of war" on the kingdom, the world's largest oil exporter.

Mr Trump said on Twitter that he had ordered the US Treasury to "substantially increase sanctions" on Iran, which denies carrying out the attacks, and told reporters the unspecified, punitive economic measures would be unveiled within 48 hours.

Mr Trump's tweet followed repeated US assertions that the Islamic Republic was behind Saturday's attacks and came hours after Saudi Arabia said the strike was a "test of global will".

Iran again denied involvement in the Sept 14 raids, which hit the world's biggest crude oil processing facility and initially knocked out half of Saudi output. Responsibility was claimed by Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi group, which on Wednesday gave more details of the raid, saying it was launched from three sites in Yemen.

In a remark that may further strain a tense political atmosphere in the Gulf, the Houthis said they had listed dozens of sites in the United Arab Emirates, Riyadh's top Arab ally, as possible targets for attacks.

To bolster its assertion that Iran was responsible, Saudi Arabia showed drone and missile debris it said amounted to undeniable evidence of Iranian aggression. - REUTERS

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