The United States announced on Friday the sending of military reinforcements to the Gulf region after Saudi attacks on Iran and strengthened sanctions against the Iranian Central Bank, presented by Donald Trump as "the toughest ever imposed to a country ". "At the request of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the president has approved the deployment of US forces, which will be defensive by nature, and mainly focused on the air force and missile defense," said the US Minister of Transport. Defense Mark Esper.
Recalling the destruction of an American drone by Iranian forces in June after Iran seized a British oil tanker, Mark Esper estimated that the 14 September attacks on two oil installations in Saudi Arabia "represent (ai) a dramatic escalation of Iranian aggression ". "This is a first step we are taking in response to these attacks," Mark Esper added during a press conference. "We think that will be enough but that does not mean that there can not be additional deployment depending on the situation."
The exact number of troops and the type of equipment sent as reinforcements have not yet been decided, but it will be a "moderate" deployment, which will not be counted in thousands, said the head of state American Major General Joe Dunford. The Republican billionaire announced earlier new sanctions against the National Bank of Iran. "These are sanctions at the highest level," he said in the Oval Office.
Depriving the Guardians of the Financing Revolution
At his side, the Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin explained that it was to target "the last source of income of the Central Bank of Iran", already on the US black list, but also the National Development Fund, "that is, their sovereign fund that will be cut off" from the US banking system. "This means that there will be no more money going to the Revolutionary Guards," the elite army of Iranian power, "to finance terrorism," he assured.
Whole sections of the Iranian economy, from its financial system to oil exports subject to a strict embargo, are subject to US sanctions. Mike Pompeo reiterated in a statement that "all the evidence pointed to Iran, and only Iran" as responsible for the attacks in Saudi Arabia. Ryad on Friday revealed for the first time to the press the extent of the damage to its oil facilities, a "sophisticated aggression in its design and shameless in its execution," according to the US Secretary of State.
The Yemeni Houthi rebels, who claimed responsibility for the offensive, announced plans to halt all attacks on Saudi Arabia as part of a peace initiative to end a five-year conflict. For the governor of the Iranian Central Bank, Abdolnasser Hemmati, these new punitive measures "show how" the Americans "can not find leverage against Iran," which denies leading these attacks.