Members of the US Congress blasted Iran after the attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities, but expressed wariness about US military action, especially before they have a clearer picture of who was behind it.
President Donald Trump said the United States was “locked and loaded” to hit back after Saturday’s attack, which knocked out more than half of Saudi Arabia’s oil production and damaged the world’s biggest crude processing plant.
Iran denied US accusations it was to blame and said it was ready for “full-fledged war.”
US lawmakers, especially Trump’s fellow Republicans, were quick to blame Tehran.
Republican Senator Marco Rubio said that he had no doubt that Iran was behind the attacks and said Tehran “must face the consequences.”
“Notion that #Iran regime was peaceful & cooperative until Trump ended Iran Deal is ridiculous. They used windfall from deal to finance rockets, drones, cyber and proxies. If this isn’t dealt with now in a few years they will attain irreversible leverage over the entire region,” he wrote on Twitter.
Mitch McConnell, the Senate’s Republican majority leader, called it “a brazen attack” with significant implications for the global energy market and said he welcomed Trump’s preparation to potentially release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to stabilize markets if necessary.
“I hope our international partners will join us in imposing consequences on Iran for this reckless destabilizing attack,” McConnell said as he opened the Senate.
For his part, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said that incident regarding the attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities was the latest example “of how Iran is wreaking havoc in the Middle East.”
“It is now time for the US to put on the table an attack on Iranian oil refineries if they continue their provocations or increase nuclear enrichment,” Graham tweeted.
Senate aides said the administration was expected to begin providing classified briefings on Saturday’s attack for congressional staff and members as soon as Monday.
Senator Jim Risch, the Republican chairman of the foreign relations panel, warned of US retaliation in case of an attack on US troops.
“Iran should not underestimate the United States’ resolve,” he said. “Any attack against US forces deployed abroad must be met with an overwhelming response - no targets are off the table.”
- With Reuters