Mike Pompeo visits Saudi Arabia following attacks

Thursday, 19 Sep, 2019

Pompeo, who is traveling to meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to discuss the recent attack, said the intelligence community has "high confidence" that the Houthis did not possess weapons similar to the ones used in the attacks, leading them to determine the attacks had not originated from Yemen.

And it's a huge disgrace to hear our commander-in-chief basically put us in a position -the American people, our men and women in uniform, our military assets - in a position where we are servants of the Saudi kingdom.

With U.S. officials focusing on Iran as the culprit, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Tuesday dismissed the possibility of negotiating with Washington over its nuclear program unless the U.S. returned to the 2015 worldwide pact that restrained Iran's nuclear weapons program in exchange for lifting economic sanctions against Iran.

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei approved last weekend's attack on Saudi Arabia's oil infrastructure, CBS News reported yesterday, citing an unnamed United States official. CBS News correspondent Ian Lee said the Saudis had also committed to joining a US -backed force to protect vital shipping lanes and oil facilities in and around the Persian Gulf.

In Riyadh, Malki showed off what was said to be a delta wing of an Iranian drone along with other weapons debris.

AARON DAVID MILLER: If you're talking about a military conflict in which the United States makes a judgement that it needs to destroy Iran's conventional military assets, and at the same time, its nuclear facilities, you could be talking about largely cyber and air power, and cruise missile strikes.

In addition to deciding whether that firepower should be turned on Iran in retaliation, the Saudis and their American allies must now figure out how to prevent a repeat of last weekend's attack - or worse, such as an assault on the Saudis' export facilities in the Persian Gulf or any of the desalination plants that supply drinking water. It was on their soil.

They consider this just another means of war, which is strangulating their economy.

Denouncing the attack, French President Emmanuel Macron said that his country will send its experts to help investigate the drone attacks on the oil facilities.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks in Tehranin this file picture.

In early September, France proposed offering Iran about $15 billion in credit lines until year-end if Tehran comes fully back into compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal, but the whole arrangement would hinge on USA approval.

Although US officials have indicated they clearly believe the Saudi blame placed on Iran, despite Tehran's denial, Trump has yet to state this fully in public.

FILE- Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei waves during ceremony attended by Iranian clerics in Tehran
FILE- Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei waves during ceremony attended by Iranian clerics in Tehran

"If any action takes place against Iran, the action will be faced by Iran's answer immediately", IRNA quoted the note as saying. It added that Iran's response wouldn't be limited to the source of the threat, suggesting it would inflict damage beyond what it had suffered.

Announcing Mer Pompeo's departure, US Vice President Mike Pence said: "As the president said, we don't want war with anybody but the United States is prepared". National Security Council officials declined to comment.

After a firestorm erupted in Washington surrounding Trump's decision to essentially hand over US foreign policy and military decision-making to the Saudi monarchy, he backtracked.

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.

IRNA separately reported that Iran's delegation to the annual UN General Assembly meeting had not left Iran because the USA has yet to issue the necessary visas.

"They want to impose maximum. pressure on Iran through slander", Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said. The U.N. meeting had been considered an opportunity for direct talks between the leaders that, amid a summer of heightened tensions, could resolve the crisis.

Trump said "if it was up to me I'd let them come". I don't think it's ever lived up to the potential it has.

The question that I'm raising is, why are we in as bad a situation as we are today, where we may be on the precipice of war?

Then followed two months of relative calm, despite the imposition of USA sanctions on Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. This theory is corroborated by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's remarks on Tuesday that publicly banned negotiations between Iranian officials and the U.S. at "any level whether in NY or anywhere else". More exactly, this policy will be a firm message to any state that will seek in the future to follow the path of the Iranian regime and to remain intact after achieving its subversive goals with impunity.

"Learn lessons from this warning and consider that there could be a war in the region", he said, in a likely address to the rulers of Saudi Arabia which has spent billions of dollars on USA weapons.

Rouhani said Yemenis "did not hit hospitals, they did not hit schools or the Sanaa bazaar", referring to the Saudi-led coalition's airstrikes. "They attacked an industrial site to warn you", Rouhani said.

"Learn lessons from this warning and consider that there could be a war in the region", he added.