Washington: US President Donald Trump on Wednesday said that he has ordered “substantial” new sanctions on Iran, marking the latest escalation of tensions between the two countries following the attack on Saudi oil facilities.
“I have just instructed the Secretary of the Treasury to substantially increase Sanctions on the country of Iran!” Trump tweeted.
He has yet to definitively state that Tehran was behind the attack on the Saudi oil facilities, but others in his administration have blamed Tehran, which has denied involvement.
It wasn’t clear to whom the sanctions would apply.
This comes after the US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo embarked on a three-day visit to Saudi Arabia and UAE on Wednesday amid rising tensions in the Gulf region over a recent drone attack on two Saudi Aramco oil facilities.
Pompeo accuses Iran
Earlier on Sunday, Pompeo had accused Iran of the drone attacks on the Saudi oil facilities.
“Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia while Rouhani and Zarif pretend to engage in diplomacy. Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply. There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen,” Pompeo tweeted.
Iran has since dismissed all allegations against it and rejected Pompeo’s statements which hold Tehran responsible for the attacks.
Saturday morning’s drone attacks had knocked off half of the Kingdom’s oil production. Yemen’s Houthi rebels had claimed responsibility for it.
The Iran-US relationship has shown strain in recent times, especially after Washington’s exit from the landmark Iran nuclear deal last year.