Attack on Saudi Arabia included projectiles fired from Iranian territory, sources say

Gen. Keane: US 'holding all the cards,' Iran 'back on their heels' like they've never been before

US President Donald Trump said yesterday that America has become such a big oil producer that it no longer needs petrol from the Middle East. At least one missile passed through airspace over Kuwait, a US ally.

The Iranian president has said even if the sanctions are lifted, any talks must be held in the framework of the nuclear accord. The comparison to 9/11 was notable because 15 of the 19 hijackers who deliberately crashed four planes that day were Saudi nationals. "We have to sit down with the Saudis and work something out", he said.

Oil prices soared on Monday in reaction to Saudi Arabia's oil facilities being attacked over the weekend.

"Iranian officials, at any level, will never talk to American officials. this is part of their policy to put pressure on Iran", Iranian state TV quoted Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as saying.

Trump, alternating between aggressive and nonviolent reactions, said the US could respond "with an attack many, many times larger" but also "I'm not looking at options right now".

Khamenei said that the US was trying to demonstrate that its current policy of applying maximum pressure on Iran, via economic sanctions, would work to bring the country to the negotiating table. "But yet there were multiple, multiple attacks that were able to breach these defenses", he added. Shortly afterward, Trump ordered a military strike against Iran before changing his mind at the very last second. If any attack had come from Yemen, the southern sides the structures would have been damaged, USA officials say.

The Iraqi government issued a statement saying it had been assured by the USA secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, that the attack had not been launched from Iraqi territory.

It's that sort of knee-jerk support for Saudi Arabia within American political ranks that makes a USA military response troublingly likely.

The strike on the oil facilities have ratcheted up fear in an already tense environment in the Gulf.

The Saudi Press Agency, citing a statement by the Ministry, said that the drones caused the fire at the refinery in the city of Abqaiq in the Kingdom's oil-rich Eastern Province, as well as the blaze at the Khurais oil field, around 150 km from Riyadh.

Trump said he was sending Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Saudi Arabia soon, but he had not made any commitments to protect the Saudis.

"It's not a great thing to say, but if something like this is going to happen, at least it happened at a time when there is a surplus in crude and USA production is growing at such a fast clip", said Tony Nunan, Tokyo-based oil risk manager at Mitsubishi Corp.

The Saudi-led coalition, which is bogged down in a five-year war in neighbouring Yemen, reiterated the assessment that the Huthis were not behind it, pointing the finger at Iran for providing the arms.

However, Aramco, the state oil company of Saudi Arabia, will still supply the same grades and volumes requested for October nominations, the source said.

Trump has said his goal is to force Iran to negotiate a tougher agreement and has left open the possibility of talks with Rouhani at an upcoming United Nations meeting.

U.S. strikes against Iran carried out under the pretext of retaliation for the attacks on Saudi Arabia can trigger Iranian counterstrikes, sending U.S. warships to the bottom of the Persian Gulf and wreaking havoc on American military bases throughout the region. "But we would certainly help them".

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