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  • U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo walks alongside Saudi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Assaf as he arrives at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, September 18, 2019.

    U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo walks alongside Saudi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Assaf as he arrives at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, September 18, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 18 September 2019

Saudi Arabia displayed drone and missile debris and said it was undeniable evidence of Iranian aggression while U.S. President Donald Trump imposed more sanctions. 

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who arrived in Saudi Arabia Wednesday said the attack on oil reserve is an “act of war” adding that "this was an Iranian attack" on the country. 

RELATED:

Iran Warns of Immediate Response to Any US Strikes

U.S. President Donald Trump ordered a major increase in sanctions on Iran Wednesday as Saudi Arabia displayed remnants of drones and missiles it said were used in a crippling attack “unquestionably sponsored” by Tehran.

Trump gave no explanation in a Twitter post announcing the order, but it followed repeated U.S. assertions that Iran was behind Saturday’s attack and came hours after Saudi Arabia said the strike was a “test of global will”.

“I have just instructed the Secretary of the Treasury to substantially increase sanctions on the country of Iran!” he wrote.

In an attempt to support its assertion that Iran was responsible, Saudi Arabia displayed drone and missile debris it said was undeniable evidence of Iranian aggression.

A total of 25 drones and missiles were used in the attacks launched from Iran, not Yemen, Defense Ministry spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki told a news conference. 

“The attack was launched from the north and unquestionably sponsored by Iran,” he said, adding Iranian Delta Wing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) were used in addition to cruise missiles.

An investigation into where the attacks were launched from was still underway and the result would be announced at a later date, he said.

Trump has said he does not want war and is coordinating with Gulf and European states.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said the strike was a “real test of the global will” to confront subversion of the international order.

U.N. officials monitoring sanctions on Iran and Yemen were also heading to Saudi Arabia to investigate.

France, which is trying to salvage an international nuclear deal with Iran that Washington quit last year, said it wanted to establish the facts before reacting.

A U.S. official told Reuters the strikes originated in southwestern Iran. Three officials said they involved cruise missiles and drones, indicating a higher degree of complexity and sophistication than initially thought.

The officials did not provide evidence or explain what U.S. intelligence they were used for evaluating the attack, which cut 5 percent of global production.

Saudi Arabia said on Tuesday the 5.7 million barrels per day of output lost would be fully restored by the end of the month.

Oil prices fell after the Saudi reassurances, having surged more than 20 percent at one point Monday - the biggest intra-day jump since the 1990-91 Gulf War. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has offered to sell Riyadh defense systems, called for a “thorough and impartial” probe during a phone call with Prince Mohammed.

Already frayed U.S.-Iran ties deteriorated further when Trump quit the nuclear pact and reimposed sanctions, severely hurting the Iranian economy. Iran has ruled out talks with Washington unless it returns to the pact.

Trump said he is not looking to meet Rouhani during a U.N. event in New York this month. Rouhani and his foreign minister may not attend the General Assembly at all unless U.S. visas are issued in the coming hours, state media reported Wednesday.

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