US Secretary State Pompeo wants 'peaceful solution' to Iran tensions

US Secretary State Pompeo wants 'peaceful solution' to Iran tensions
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says that the US doesn't want to go to war with Iran, following suspected Iranian strikes on Saudi oil infrastructure.
2 min read
19 September, 2019
Pompeo visited the Gulf to meet UAE and Saudi leaders [Getty-file photo]

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attempted to cool tensions with rival Tehran on Thursday, saying Washington wanted a "peaceful solution" following suspected Iranian strikes on Saudi oil infrastructure.

Despite blaming Iran for attacks on two sites in eastern Saudi Arabia on Saturday - describing it as an "act of war" - Pompeo was keen to follow President Donald Trump's lead and cool tensions.

"We'd like a peaceful resolution. I think we've demonstrated that," he told reporters. "I hope the Islamic Republic of Iran sees it the same way."

Pompeo has met Gulf leaders in the UAE and Saudi Arabia to discuss the alleged drone and cruise missile strikes on the kingdom.

He said that there was "enormous consensus in the region" that Iran carried out the attacks, despite Iran insisting Houthi rebels carried out the strikes from Yemen.

The US secretary of state flew out to the Gulf on Wednesday, where he met Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom's de-facto ruler who has said the assault poses a "real test" of global will.

Pompeo concluded that the US was intent on finding a way out of the confrontation.

Saudi Arabia's defence ministry unveiled at a press conference on Wednesday what they said were fragments of 25 drones and cruise missiles fired Saturday at Aramco facilities.

"The attack was launched from the north and unquestionably sponsored by Iran," defence ministry spokesman Turki al-Maliki said. He refused to say, however, whether he believed Iran directly carried out the operation.

Riyadh also rejected "Iran's narrative" that the Houthis carried out the attack, something backed by French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian also said the claim "lacks credibility".

The strikes caused a major disruption in the oil market with the sharpest surge in prices since for at least 30 years. On Thursday, air raid sirens were tested in Riyadh.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif warned that any US or Saudi retaliatory strike on Iran could cause "all-out war".

"We don't want war, we don't want to engage in a military confrontation," he told CNN in an interview aired Thursday.

"But we won't blink to defend our territory."