Pompeo says Saudi attack an “act of war” as Trump sounds more cautious note

Pompeo, who is in Saudi Arabia to consult with the kingdom’s rulers on next steps, said, “We were blessed that there were no Americans killed in this attack, but anytime you have an act of war of this nature, there’s always risk that that could happen. … This is an attack of a scale we’ve just not seen before.”

The top US diplomat said he is in the Middle East to build a coalition to deter Iran and signaled that the Trump administration will use the upcoming gathering of world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly to rally support for action against Tehran, which denies involvement.

Earlier Wednesday, Trump tweeted that “I have just instructed the Secretary of the Treasury to substantially increase Sanctions on the country of Iran!”

Henry Rome, an Iran analyst at the Eurasia Group, said the tweet was “important because it appears to be Trump’s effort to respond to the Iranian attack by sanctions measures and not by military steps.”

The Trump administration has ratcheted sanctions up to the point that, Rome said, “at this point the US is scraping the bottom of the barrel with sanctions. After the decision to sanction Iranian oil in May, everything else is fairly marginal. When you look at effectiveness or impact, you’re really out of significant sanction tools at this point.”

“We have to sit down with the Saudis and work something out,” he told reporters on Tuesday. “That was an attack on Saudi Arabia, and that wasn’t an attack on us.”

Article URL : https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/18/politics/donald-trump-iran-sanctions-treasury/index.html

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