President Donald Trump tweeted that he has instructed the Treasury to enforce economic sanctions against Iran & # 39; substantial & # 39; after he had worked with his security advisers to get military and other options.
The president's response to already heavily sanctioned Iran comes after he received options, including military, from his security advisers – while he fended off external pressure from a major political ally that Tehran was a reaction to the downing of an American drone in June. saw sign of & # 39; weakness & # 39 ;.
& # 39; I have just instructed the Finance Minister to significantly increase sanctions for the country of Iran! & # 39; Trump Tweeted.
His statement followed the drone attack on Saudi oil facilities that caused a spike in oil prices and hit Saudi oil production.
The Treasury and the White House must provide even more detailed information on which sanctions should be imposed.
President Trump's best national security officials have given him a & # 39; menu & # 39; with options given regarding Iran
Traveling with reporters on a fundraising sprint through California on Wednesday, Trump did not exclude him from meeting Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
& # 39; I never exclude anything, but I'd rather not meet him, & # 39; said Trump.
It was not immediately clear whether the president's action against sanctions meant that he was leaning against additional military action by the US or ally Saudi Arabia. In Monday's remarks to reporters, he did not say definitively that Iran was behind the copper attack.
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, a major political ally of Trump, tweeted that the president's response to earlier Iranian downturn of the American drone & # 39; as a sign of weakness & # 39; was seen in Tehran
Earlier in his term of office, the president began a campaign for & # 39; maximum pressure & # 39; including tightening sanctions when he withdrew the US from the nuclear deal with Iran.
The president replied: & # 39; No Lindsey, it was a sign of strength that some people just don't understand! & # 39;
Graham also tweeted Tuesday: & # 39; The problems with Iran are only getting worse over time, so it is imperative that we take decisive action to deter further aggression by Ayatollah and his associate. & # 39;
The president weighs a wide range of possible actions against Iran in retaliation for his alleged attack on Saudi oil facilities, it was reported Tuesday.
National security officials reportedly have a & # 39; menu & # 39; presented with options such as military strikes and cyber attacks.
But it is said that Trump tends towards a & # 39; narrowly focused response & # 39; which would not involve the United States being drawn into a long-standing military conflict with Iran, NBC News reports.
One option considered by the president and senior officials in his administration is background support for a Saudi strike.
In this scenario, Americans would provide intelligence, surveillance capabilities and targeted information to Saudi armed forces – although no US personnel would fire weapons at Iran.
The government could launch military or cyber attacks on Iran, due to the strike at a Saudi oil facility in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia on Saturday
The attack on the Saudi oil facility was a sophisticated one that, according to Western officials, used cruise missiles and drones
US military planners have long drawn up a list of possible Iranian targets, including the Abadan oil refinery and the Kharg island oil export facility.
These are important sites that are crucial to Iran's ability to process and sell oil.
Since the end of the 2015 nuclear agreement, the Trump government has tightened economic sanctions against Iran.
The Trump government could also instruct the army to strike at locations belonging to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
Officials familiar with the schedule told NBC News that although the Pentagon did not make a decision, the presence of US troops in the Persian Gulf will be strengthened.
Tensions in the region have been high since earlier Tuesday, when American officials blamed the attack on Iran.
Trump defended his decision Tuesday not to attack Iran in June after an American drone was shot down over the Strait of Hormuz
An American official told Reuters that Washington believes the attack originated in southwestern Iran.
Three officials spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity and said the attacks involved both cruise missiles and drones, indicating that they involved a higher degree of complexity and sophistication than initially thought.
The officials did not provide any evidence or explain which US intelligence services they used for the evaluations. Such intelligence, if shared publicly, could further press Washington, Riyadh and others to respond, perhaps even militarily.
Iran denies involvement in the strikes. Iran's allies in the Yemen civil war, the Houthi movement, claimed responsibility for the attacks. The Houthis say they hit the plants with drones, some of which were powered by jet engines.
Known to act impulsively, Trump has adopted an uncharacteristic go-slow approach to hold Iran responsible for attacks on Saudi oil facilities, with little enthusiasm for confrontation when he looks for re-election next year.
After the Saudi Aramco state factories were beaten on Saturday, Trump did not wait long to fire a tweet on which the United States were locked up and loaded & # 39; to respond, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran.
But four days later, Trump has no timetable for action.
These satellite photos, revealed by the US government, show the damage caused by the drone attacks
The Abqaiq oil processing facility (depicted on fire) and the Khurais oil field in Saudi Arabia were both rocked by explosions on Sunday that cut off 5 percent of world stocks
Donald Trump tweeted Sunday to say that the US is locked and loaded depending on the verification, suggesting that he waited for Riyad's confirmation before acting
Instead, he wants to wait for the results of investigations into what happened and is sending Pompeo this week to consult colleagues in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
& # 39; There is plenty of time & # 39 ;, Trump said to reporters on Monday.
& # 39; You know, there's no rush. We will all stay here for a long time. There is no rush. & # 39;
Trump said on Tuesday that he preferred a restrained policy.
In a Twitter thread, the President's ally, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, said Iran was guilty of a & # 39; act of war & # 39; by allegedly attacking the Saudi oil fields.
Colonel Turki al-Malki of Saudi Arabia said that drone attacks on two of his country's oil facilities did not come from Yemen at the weekend and pointed the finger directly at Tehran
Graham, a republican who is known to support aggressive action against Iran, said that the goal should be to restore the deterrence against Iranian aggression that has clearly been lost.
The senator then mentioned the last time there were increased tensions with Iran – last June, when an American drone was shot down by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard of Iran above the Strait of Hormuz.
It was commonly reported that American fighter jets were in the air to take revenge on Iran, but Trump called them back at the last minute.
& # 39; The measured response from President Trump regarding the shooting of an American drone was clearly seen as a sign of weakness by the Iranian regime & # 39 ;, Graham tweet Tuesday.
But Trump responded to Graham, tweeting: & # 39; No Lindsey, it was a sign of strength that some people just don't understand! & # 39;
American officials say that Trump, who is famously skeptical of his intelligence community, wants to ensure that the perpetrator is positively identified in a way that will pass not only with him but also with the American people.
& # 39; In response to the biggest attack on global oil markets in history, I don't think in a hurry to respond and make sure everyone is on the same page, is where we should be & # 39 ;, said an American official , who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Trump & # 39; s attitude today is in stark contrast to 2017, less than three months in his presidency, when he waited just two days before launching air strikes to punish Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's troops for a chemical attack weapons.
Trump's caution reflects the America First world view that was supported by his base in the 2016 presidential campaign and that he is trying to promote again while looking for a second term in 2020.
The pillars of this view are that the war in Iraq was a waste of blood and treasure, that the end of the war in Afghanistan is already far too late and that Washington must be repaid for the deployment of American troops abroad, from South Africa. Korea to Germany.
This photo was taken in January and shows the infrastructure of the oil / gas installation before the weekend attack. The damaged areas are marked in the squares
The Trump government released satellite photos on Sunday reportedly damaging the Saudi oil refinery in Abqaiq on the north or north west side of the buildings, which would be consistent with an attack from Iran or Iraq
Jon Alterman, an expert in the Middle East at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a former State Department official, also said that Trump & # 39; has become increasingly cautious as the reality of military action increased. & # 39 ;
& # 39; The president has a large constituency that thinks it is madness to wage war against Iran & he said.
& # 39; A large part of its base thinks that the craziest thing we can do is commit to endless wars in the Middle East. & # 39;
The attacks on Saudi targets have so far put a brake on what had been an attempt to open talks with Iranian leaders to try to get an idea of whether they were ready to make a deal for their nuclear and ballistic missile program & # 39; s in response to economic sanctions that have been taken a toll on Iran's economy.
Trump & # 39; s willingness to consider easing sanctions against Iran, troubled his national security adviser, John Bolton, when the president raised the idea at a meeting last Monday, a source close to Bolton said.
Bolton was out the next day.
Bolton & # 39; s departure removed a central anti-Iran vote from the inner circle of the president.
Bolton, a well-known hawk for foreign policy, would be furious in June when Trump abruptly repelled air attacks in response to Iran's dropping of an American drone.
& # 39; If Bolton were there, he would say that it was absolutely Iran (the blame for the Saudi attack) and that we must now strike, & # 39 ;, said a former senior government official.
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