In conflict with Iran, the United States is sending more soldiers to the Middle East after the attacks on Saudi oil facilities. "The President has approved the use of US forces, which will be defensive in nature," said Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Friday night at the Pentagon. "Everything indicates that Iran was responsible for the attack." Investigations by US, Saudi and international experts had shown that the weapons used were from Iranian production and had not been used from Yemen.
Iran denies any responsibility for the attacks in Saudi Arabia last Saturday. The Iran-backed Houthi rebels had committed themselves to the act. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had then accused her of lying.
Esper said the additional US soldiers will serve defense against air and missile attacks. At first, US Army chief Joseph Dunford did not want to reveal how many soldiers were being moved to another location - but he said on demand that it would not be about thousands of soldiers. Dunford announced further details for next week.
Already 2,500 additional soldiers since May
It was only in June that the Pentagon announced it would send another 1,000 troops to the Middle East to protect US troops and US national interests in the region. By the end of May, the US had increased its forces in the Middle East by 1,500 troops because of the "continuing threat" of Iranian forces. Previously, the US military had relocated, inter alia, an aircraft carrier association and a bomber squadron in the region.
The minister stressed that Trump did not want to go to war with Iran. However, the US would have "other military options available should they be needed." He called on Iran to stop its "destructive and destabilizing activities" and to continue on a "peaceful and diplomatic path". "The fact is that the Saudis were attacked with both drones and cruise missiles" and that they are still at risk.
Trump had announced on Friday new sanctions against Iran's central bank and sovereign wealth funds for alleged financing of terrorist activities. "We have now cut off all sources of income for Iran," said Finance Minister Steven Mnuchin. The US warned all governments not to cooperate with Iran's central bank. At the same time, the US president defended his military restraint. He could at any time "within a minute" order a military strike against important targets in Iran, said Trump in the White House.
Insider: Foreign Minister Maas prepares for meetings with Iranians
Meanwhile, there are efforts to de-escalate the crisis. On the one hand, the Houthis, allied with Iran, offered US-affiliated Saudis an offer for a ceasefire on Friday. On the other hand, the actors of the nuclear agreement of 2015, with the exception of the US representatives, according to diplomats prepare for a meeting next Wednesday on the sidelines of the UN general debate in New York. According to them, the Foreign Ministers of Germany, France, Great Britain, Russia and China are supposed to meet with the Iranian Foreign Minister. You have repeatedly stressed that you want to save the agreement.
The Iranian chief diplomat Mohammed Jawad Sarif also announced a meeting in front of Iranian journalists. He also described new US sanctions against Iran as "an act of despair."