Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described recent attacks on oil fields in Saudi Arabia as an “act of war,” claiming that the U.S. has evidence that the government of Iran was behind the action.
Pompeo made the remarks while being interviewed on the program “Face the Nation” on Sunday, CBS News reported.
“This was Iran true and true, and the United States will respond in a way that reflects that act of war by this Iranian revolutionary regime,” Pompeo explained.
He further suggested that any action on the part of Saudi Arabia — and perhaps by the U.S. acting on its behalf — would be justified by international rules governing such action. “The U.N.’s primary charter is to protect peace around the world. This was a state on state act of war,” Pompeo said.
The U.S. has not yet produced substantial evidence to back the claim up that Iran committed the actions. Houthi rebels in Yemen had initially stated they were responsible for the attacks, but several officials, including Pompeo, reject that notion outright.
“These weapons systems had ranges that could not have come from the Houthis. It is crazy for anyone to assert that they did,” the Secretary of State said on Sunday. “I mean, it is literally nuts on its face to make an assertion that this was an attack by the Houthis.”
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) September 18, 2019
The Houthis have, however, attempted attacks against the Saudis before, as the Washington Post has noted. Some doubts linger whether the Houthis were truly responsible for last week’s attacks, however, as it was a more sophisticated operation than they typically engage in with the Saudi government.
In response to the attacks, President Donald Trump ordered the deployment of hundreds of additional U.S. troops to the region, along with missile systems. U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced the deployment in a statement on Friday.
“The president has approved the deployment of U.S. forces which will be defensive in nature and primarily focused on air and missile defense,” Esper said, according to NBC News.