U.S. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham has said the United States should consider an attack on Iran’s oil refineries following a large drone attack on Saudi Arabian oil installations early on September 14.
In a tweet later in the day, Graham wrote the attack “is yet another example of how Iran is wreaking havoc in the Middle East. The Iranian regime is not interested in peace – they’re pursuing nuclear weapons and regional dominance.”
Graham added, “It is now time for U.S. to put on the table an attack on Iranian oil refineries if they continue their provocations or increase nuclear enrichment”.
Graham is a close ally of President Donald Trump and an influential voice in the U.S. Senate where Republicans have the majority.
This was not the first drone attack on Saudi targets. Yemen’s Houthi rebels have targeted Saudi airports and oil installations in recent months, but the latest attack was the most damaging.
U.S. Secretary of State Mile Pompeo seemed to blame Iran directly for the drone attack, unlike past instances when the action clearly was attributed to the Houthis. "There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen," Pompeo said in a tweet, adding, “Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the worls’s energy supply”.
There have been expectations that president Trump and Iran’s Rouhani might meet during the UN General Assembly later this month to try to reduce tensions. Iran has demanded an end to U.S. sanctions.
Iran has repeatedly threatened that if it cannot sell oil, it might not allow others in the Persian Gulf to export their crude.
Two sources close to the matter told Reuters 5 million barrels per day of crude production were impacted -- close to half of the kingdom's output or 5% of global oil supply. Another source said some production was shut down as a precaution and that most of the lost output capacity would resume within days.