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Tuesday, October 22, 2019

(JNS) U.S. President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday that he has ordered U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to “substantially increase” sanctions on Iran.

Trump’s tweet came four days after Iran attacked two Saudi Aramco oil facilities on Sept. 14.

The more than 20 cruise missiles and drones that hit the oil facilities were launched from southern Iran, reported CBS News, citing a senior U.S. official.

In a national security meeting earlier this week, U.S. military leaders presented U.S. President Donald Trump with a range of options against the regime. But the president, seeking a narrowly focused retaliation that wouldn’t put the United States into a bigger military conflict with Iran, requested more possible actions, those briefed on the meeting told the outlet.

“I’m of the view, based on decades of Iranian revolutionary response to American power, that if the U.S. uses military power, the regime is likely to back down, not escalate,” Foundation for Defense of Democracies CEO Mark Dubowitz told Politico. “If the Saudis use military power, the regime is likely to escalate.”

On Tuesday, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence echoed U.S. President Donald Trump’s comments.

“In the wake of this weekend’s unprovoked attack on several oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, I promise you we’re ready,” said Pence at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. “As the president said, we don’t want war with anybody, but the United States is prepared. We’re locked and loaded. And we’re ready to defend our interests and our allies in the region. Make no mistake about it.”

Pence reiterated Trump’s comments that it appears Iran was behind it, and that U.S. intelligence is looking to determine if that was actually the case, as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been dispatched to Saudi Arabia.

The vice president warned, “If Iran conducted this latest attack to pressure President Trump to back off, they failed. America is ready to defend our interests.”

“We’re evaluating all the evidence. We’re consulting with our allies,” said Pence, adding that “the president will determine the best course of action in the days ahead,” and that “the United States of America will take whatever action is necessary to defend our country, our troops and our allies in the Gulf.”