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After Aramco Attacks, US Secy of State Mike Pompeo to Travel to Saudi Arabia over Tensions with Iran

Vice President Mike Pence said Pompeo would travel to Saudi Arabia today to discuss the US's response.

AFP

Updated:September 17, 2019, 10:00 PM IST
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After Aramco Attacks, US Secy of State Mike Pompeo to Travel to Saudi Arabia over Tensions with Iran
File photo of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. (Reuters)

Washington: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday after its oil infrastructure was struck in an attack blamed on Iran, Vice President Mike Pence said.

"The secretary of state is travelling to Saudi Arabia today to discuss our response," Pence said during a speech at the Heritage Foundation.

Reiterating the tone set by President Donald Trump, Pence said that "it's certainly looking like Iran was behind these attacks".

"As the president said, we don't want war with anybody but the United States is prepared," Pence said. "We're locked and loaded and we're ready to defend our interests and allies in the region, make no mistake about it."

A US official earlier said on condition of anonymity that Washington was certain that missiles that hit the close US ally and major oil exporter came from Iranian soil.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that the attack was carried out in self-defence by Yemen's Houthi rebels, who enjoy backing from Tehran and have borne the brunt of a Saudi-led air campaign that has contributed to a humanitarian crisis.

The US assessment determined that "Iran launched more than 20 drones and at least a dozen missiles," according to unnamed sources.

The pre-dawn strikes follow earlier cross-border attacks on Saudi oil installations and on oil tankers in Gulf waters, but these were the most brazen yet, temporarily crippling much of the nation's production capacity. Saudi Arabia is the world's biggest exporter, shipping more than 7 million barrels of oil to global destinations every day, and for years has served as the supplier of last resort to markets.

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