US Defense Secretary Donald Trump on Friday offered a wide range of military options to consider how to respond to an Iranian attack on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia.
The Wall Street Journal quoted officials as saying they would present the president at the upcoming White House meeting a list of possible targets for air strikes inside Iran, among other possible responses, amid warnings that any military action against Tehran could turn into war.
The national security meeting is likely to be the first opportunity to decide how the United States will respond to an attack on a key Middle East ally.
Any decision could depend on the kind of evidence US and Saudi investigators can provide to prove that Iran has fired cruise missiles and launched drone strikes.
Military officials confirmed to the Wall Street Journal that President Trump is not inclined to use military force against Iran.
Iran has denied involvement and has warned the United States that any attack would lead to "all-out war" with immediate retaliation from Tehran.
The Pentagon is considering sending additional anti-missile batteries, a jet fighter squadron, and surveillance devices to the Middle East to bolster the US military presence.
The measures under consideration also include a commitment to maintain a US aircraft carrier and other warships in the Middle East for the foreseeable future, the officials said.
Review the facts
Vice President Mike Pence said Trump "will review the facts and make a decision on the next steps, but the American people can be confident that the United States will defend our interest in the region and stand with our allies."
The US response could include military, political, and economic measures, and military options can range from no action at all to air strikes or less visible moves such as cyberattacks.
One possible step is for the United States to provide additional military support to help Saudi Arabia defend itself from attacks in the north, as most of its defenses have focused on the Houthi threats in Yemen south.
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Danford, stressed that Trump wants a "full range of options," adding that the question of whether the United States would respond was a "political decision," not a military one. Military. "
List of Goals
According to the New York Times, the US military response plans include a list of targets in Iran; including the Abadan facility, one of the largest oil refineries, and the island of "Kharg", which includes the largest oil facility in the country.
The list also includes sites from which missiles may have been fired at Saudi Arabia and other Revolutionary Guards bases in southwestern Iran.
"Any strike against Iran is likely to be carried out by bursts of cruise missiles launched from naval ships. If Iran responds to the first strike, planes will strike again," the newspaper said.
US President Donald Trump said he had "many options" to respond to Iran, unveiling new sanctions "within 48 hours."
These sanctions add to the unprecedented punitive measures imposed by Washington on Tehran, following Trump's withdrawal in May 2018 from the international agreement on Iran's nuclear program.
"There are a lot of options, there is the final option, there are much less options, and we will see," Trump told reporters in Los Angeles. "I say the final option means war."
For his part, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif described the US decision to impose additional sanctions on Iran as an escalation of the economic war on its citizens, and said that the resolution is illegal economic terrorism and inhuman.