The fallout from the drone strikes on Saudi oil facilities seems to be spreading wider, as US President Donald Trump indicated that he has asked the US Treasury Secretary to "substantially increase" sanctions on Iran in a tweet posted a few minutes ago, .
(Mandel Ngan/Pool via REUTERS) Shortly after Trump's sanctions announcement on Wednesday, a Saudi military spokesman in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, presented what he said was evidence of Iran's culpability, including remnants of drone and cruise missiles that he said were Iranian-made and were used in the attacks.
The UK joined the U.S.in protecting tankers in the Gulf after the UK-flagged tanker Stena Impero was seized by Iran.
Iran-aligned Houthi rebels, who are involved in a war against a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, claimed the attack, but US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said afterwards that there was "no evidence the attacks came from Yemen".
"The attack was launched from the north and was unquestionably sponsored by Iran", al-Malki told journalists. He also showed what he said were surveillance videos from the early morning hours that showed the weapons approaching from the north.
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, himself under USA sanctions since July, described the sanctions as "illegal" and "inhuman". The best approach, he said, is deterrence - making Iran believe it would pay an enormous cost for targeting Saudi oil infrastructure.
The tensions in the region center on a rivalry between Saudi Arabia and regional heavyweight Iran, especially in the Persian Gulf, a key worldwide waterway for oil shipments.
Ayatollah Khamenei: No negotiations with US at any level
Russian Federation and China said it was wrong to jump to conclusions about who was to blame for the attack on Saudi Arabia. Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman is scheduled to hold a press briefing on Tuesday in Jeddah.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, meets with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Iran's foreign ministry has also rejected blame, calling American and Saudi assurances they have proof of Tehran's involvement "baseless and untrue".
The International Maritime Security Construct task force is headquartered in Bahrain, and its members include the U.S., the U.K., Australia as well as the host country. The U.N. meeting had been considered as an opportunity for direct talks between Rouhani and Trump.
"I think the case is definitely becoming stronger for the argument that it wasn't launched from Yemen", he said.
"Frogmen, drones, third-party proxies and cyberattack are all capabilities Iran can use to turn up the heat", Hultquist said.
In Tehran, Rouhani told his Cabinet that Saudi Arabia should see the attack as a warning to end its war in Yemen, where it has fought the Houthi rebels since 2015 and sought to restore the internationally recognized government.
Rouhani said Yemenis "did not hit hospitals, they did not hit schools or the Sanaa bazaar", referring to the Saudi-led coalition's airstrikes. "Learn the lesson from the warning", he said, portraying the Houthis as responsible for the drone strikes.
During a phone call, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson agreed with Trump that there must be "a united diplomatic response from worldwide partners" to the weekend attack, according to Johnson's office.