- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday accused Iran of carrying out an “act of war” against Saudi Arabian oil infrastructure last weekend — though he did not provide any clear, indisputable evidence to back up the claim.

Speaking to reporters en route to Saudi Arabia, Mr. Pompeo, who spoke just hours after Saudi officials also said Iran had sponsored the attack, suggested that Tehran will pay a steep price.

“This is an attack of a scale we’ve just not seen before,” the secretary of state said. “This was an Iranian attack.”

The weekend assault on the Abqaiq oil processing plant temporarily cut Saudi fuel production by 50%, leading to a rapid increase in oil prices. While Riyadh and Washington are blaming Iran for the attack, Tehran has vehemently denied involvement.

Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen initially claimed responsibility for the attack. But Mr. Pompeo said there’s no sign they’re telling the truth.

Even if they were, he said, it does not absolve Iran and its leadership of culpability.

“It’s not the case that you can subcontract out the devastation of 5% of the world’s global energy supply and think that you can absolve yourself from responsibility,” he said. “Were it the case that the Houthis’ fraudulent claim was accurate, were that true — it’s not, but were that true — it doesn’t change the fingerprints of the Ayatollah as having put at risk the global energy supply.”

Meanwhile, U.S. lawmakers increasingly are pushing the Trump administration for a military response. Rep. Liz Cheney, Wyoming Republican, on Wednesday said the U.S. should pursue “proportional” military responses.

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