The U.S. backs Saudi Arabia’s sovereign “right to defend itself” after a weekend attack on a crucial processing facility and oil field, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday.
Describing the “unprecedented” assault as an “act of war,” Pompeo’s comments on Twitter came from Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, after his meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s defense minister.
Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have claimed the attack, but the U.S. alleges Iran carried out the assault.
“The U.S. stands with #SaudiArabia and supports its right to defend itself,” Pompeo said. “The Iranian regime’s threatening behavior will not be tolerated.”
Met with #Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman today to discuss the unprecedented attacks against Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure. The U.S. stands with #SaudiArabia and supports its right to defend itself. The Iranian regime’s threatening behavior will not be tolerated.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) September 18, 2019
Pompeo said the attacks would be a major focus of next week’s annual U.N. General Assembly meeting and suggested Saudi Arabia could make its case there.
To bolster its assertion that Iran was responsible, Saudi Arabia on Wednesday showed drone and missile debris it said amounted to undeniable evidence of Iranian aggression.
A total of 25 drones and missiles were used in the attacks sponsored by Iran but not launched from Yemen, Defence Ministry spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki told a news conference.
Iran, which has denied involvement in the attack, warned the U.S. it will hit back immediately if targeted.