The United States wants a peaceful solution to the crisis caused by attacks against Saudi oil facilities, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday, after Iran raised the possibility of a "total war."
Pompeo blamed Iran for the dramatic assault of the weekend at two facilities, condemning an "act of war" that destroyed half of the kingdom's oil production.
The rhetoric has increased the risk of an unpredictable escalation in a tinder region where Saudi Arabia and Iran are caught in a decades-long struggle for dominance.
After meeting with allies in Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, Pompeo said there was a "huge consensus in the region" that Iran carried out the attacks, despite its denials.
But he said the United States intended to find a way out of the confrontation.
“We would like a peaceful resolution. I think we have shown it, ”he told reporters. "I hope that the Islamic Republic of Iran sees it the same way."
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif previously warned that any US or Saudi military attack against Iran could cause a "total war."
"We don't want war, we don't want to participate in a military confrontation," he said. CNN in an interview broadcast on Thursday.
"But we will not blink to defend our territory."
Pompeo arrived in Abu Dhabi from the Saudi city of Jeddah, where on Wednesday night he met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto ruler of the kingdom who said the assault poses a "real test" of global will.
& # 39; Glass towers & # 39;
Saudi authorities revealed on Wednesday what they said were fragments of 25 drones and cruise missiles fired on Saturday at facilities in the east of the country, which engulfed them in flames.
"The attack was launched from the north and undoubtedly sponsored by Iran," Defense Ministry spokesman Turki al-Maliki said, although he refused to know if Saudi officials believed Iran was carrying out the operation directly.
Houthi rebels linked to Tehran in southern Saudi Arabia, Yemen, have claimed responsibility, but both Washington and Riyadh have said the operation was beyond the capabilities of the insurgents.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian also said the Houthi claim "lacks credibility."
The Houthis have achieved dozens of targets in Saudi Arabia, and their rapidly advancing arsenal has exposed the vulnerability of the kingdom despite its vast military spending.
The Houthis said Saturday's assault was launched from three locations within Yemen, using advanced drones with long-range capabilities.
They also threatened the United Arab Emirates, a key member of the Saudi-led coalition that fights against the Houthis.
Brigadier general spokesman Yahya Saree said the group was ready to attack dozens of targets, including skyscraper-filled cities in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
"If you want peace and security for your facilities and glass towers that cannot support an unmanned aircraft, then leave Yemen alone," he said.
& # 39; List of Iran targets & # 39;
US military planners weighing reprisals have prepared a list of Iranian targets, including the Abadan oil refinery, one of the largest in the world, and Khark Island, the country's largest crude oil export facility, the New York said. Times
Other potential targets include missile launch sites and other assets of the elite body of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard, along with bases near the Gulf, where unusual activity suggests they played a role in the attacks.
"Any attack on Iran would almost certainly be carried out by unloading cruise missiles from Navy ships (from the US). The attack aircraft would be in the air to carry out attacks if Iran retaliates against the first Hello, ”said the newspaper.
Cinzia Bianco, a Middle Eastern analyst at the European Council on Foreign Relations, warned of "a chain out of control of scalable events." "Within Saudi Arabia, there is uncertainty about the most appropriate course of action," he said. AFP.
"However, the dominant thinking points to the United States aiming at critical infrastructure in Iran to minimize or exclude any human cost."
Late Wednesday CBS News He cited an unidentified US official who said that Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, had approved the attack, on condition that it be carried out in a way that would allow Iran to deny its participation.
The US officials he cited said unpublished satellite photos showed the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps making preparations for the attack at Ahvaz air base.
But the commander of the Revolutionary Guards of Iran, Major General Hossein Salami, said Thursday that his country was "so powerful that they are forced to accuse us falsely" of being behind any incident.
An international investigation is under way, and the United Nations said Thursday that experts arrived in the kingdom and began their mission "at the invitation of the Saudi authorities."
Trump, who has already imposed sanctions that have crippled Iran's economy again, promised on Wednesday "substantially increase" the measures, earning rapid praise from Riyadh.
Zarif, under US sanctions since July 31, described the measures as "illegal" and "inhuman" and designed to harm ordinary citizens.