Thursday, September 19, 2019 11:12 am
Iran’s foreign minister has strongly condemned the ordering of new sanctions against Iran in the wake of the attacks on major Saudi oil facilities on the weekend, which Riyadh and Washington have blamed on Tehran.
U.S. President Donald Trump directed the U.S. Treasury Department to “substantially increase” sanctions on Iran following the strikes, which caused fires at two facilities operated by Saudi state oil giant Aramco and sent oil prices soaring.
It was not immediately clear what specific actions Trump had ordered.
Responding on Twitter on Thursday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif described the decision as “economic terrorism, illegal and inhumane.”
Tehran has denied any involvement in the attacks. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday called them an “act of war” by Iran.
Washington began a “maximum pressure” campaign on Iran after pulling out of the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, reinstating hard-hitting oil and financial sanctions.
The attacks on oil facilities – by a combination of drones and missiles, according to the Saudis – marked a dramatic escalation in the confrontation, sparking oil supply concerns and fears of an outbreak of fighting between the U.S. and Iran.
Yemen’s Iran-linked Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the strikes. But Pompeo called the claims “fraudulent.”