President Donald Trump said today that he does not want to go to war with Iran, but warned that his country is “better prepared” in case a conflict arises between the two countries, after last weekend’s attacks on refineries in Saudi Arabia.
“I don’t want war with anyone (…) We certainly would like to avoid it,” Trump told reporters at the White House during a meeting with Baréin’s Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa.
In the event of a conflict, the president said his country is “better prepared” than Iran because it has “the best weapons systems in the world,” and reviewed its current military arsenal, of which he highlighted several types of missiles, tanks and planes.
“We have a very high level of ammunition. We were at a very low level when I came in,” he presumed.
On Saturday, two refineries of the Saudi state oil company Aramco, key for the world supply of crude oil, were attacked with ten drones, which caused a reduction of about 50% of their production.
The action was claimed by the Hutid rebels of Yemen, who are supported by Tehran.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo directly blamed the Islamic Republic and assured that there was no “evidence” pointing to the attacks coming from Yemen, and on Sunday Trump pointed out that the United States was “loaded and ready” to respond.
Iran’s reaction has not been long in coming. On Monday, their Foreign Ministry rejected again Washington’s accusations about his alleged involvement and ruled out a possible meeting between the presidents of both countries.
“These accusations are unacceptable and completely unfounded,” stressed Iran’s foreign spokesman Abas Mousavi.
During the press conference at the White House, Trump was asked if he believed Iran was behind the attack on Saudi refineries, to which he replied that “it seems” that it was, but he did not confirm it.
“It seems so, we will definitely tell him. It’s being revised right now,” he defended.
On the other hand, the U.S. president ruled out that the diplomatic route has been “exhausted”: “No, it has never been exhausted. You never know what’s going to happen. I know they want to make a deal, at some point it will work,” he added.
Speaking to Fox Business, Marc Short, the vice president’s chief of staff, Mike Pence, nuanced Trump’s words when he said Sunday that his country is “loaded and ready” to react to the attack in Saudi Arabia. “It means several things,” Short said.
“One thing it means is that the U.S. today under its president is better prepared to handle these kinds of events because we are now a net exporter of oil,” Short said.
He stressed that the current situation is not the same as it was in the 1970s or 1990s.
“The United States is a net exporter that produces 16 million barrels of crude a day and much of that has been due to the deregulatory agenda of this Administration that has allowed much of that,” Short said.
The price of Texas oil (WTI) for delivery in October opened this Monday with a strong rise of 10.50%, surpassing the barrier of 60 dollars a barrel, in a volatile environment after the attacks in Saudi Arabia.
Secretary of Energy, Rick Perry, assured today that it is “still premature” to know if it is necessary to resort to crude oil from the country’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to compensate for the rise in prices after the attack on Saudi refineries.
The country currently has 630 million barrels saved for emergencies.
This reserve was created in 1975, after the Arab oil embargo that raised prices and provoked an acute economic crisis.
Its aim is to avoid future disruptions in the supply of crude oil and serve as a “foreign policy tool”, according to the website of the Department of Energy.
On Sunday, CNN television broadcast satellite images of Saudi refineries affected by the attack showing that the attack came from the northwest, which may mean that the aggression was launched from Iraq, where Iran has allies.