Iran’s foreign minister on Thursday shot back at Pompeo’s Wednesday remarks from Jeddah characterizing the Aramco attacks as an “act of war” by Iran. FM Javad Zarif warned of “all-out war” if the US or Saudis attack Tehran in response. “We won’t blink to defend our territory,” Zarif told CNN.
Though the White House is said to be weighing “options” — including “substantially increased” sanctions which Trump announced this week, the consensus is the administration is cautiously walking back from a war footing. As the WSJ reports:
The White House is pushing to build an international coalition to exert pressure on Iran through the United Nations as its chief response to the attack on Saudi oil facilities, an approach consistent with President Trump’s aversion to military intervention, but also reflecting limits on his retaliatory options.
And the following section of the WSJ report sounds an apt description of Trump’s 2016 campaign promises to avoid the disastrous global military interventions represented in the Bush, Obama, and Hillary legacies — a dovish instinct which helped propel him to the White House in the first place:
“This president, he didn’t want to go to war with anybody, OK? That’s not his inclination,” said Sen. James Risch (R., Idaho), the Foreign Relations Committee chairman. “He will do everything he can to avoid a kinetic engagement with another country.”
Trump’s aversion to taking a war-footing with Iran was also seen in the president’s latest Fox interview Thursday morning, set to broadcast Friday, where with characteristic ambiguity toward the ratcheting gulf tensions he said he wants a “peaceful solution” which would be “good” but it remains that “it’s possible that that won’t happen.”