President Donald Trump announced on Twitter that he has instructed the U.S. Department of Treasury to “substantially increase Sanctions on the country of Iran!” It won’t be the only option currently being deliberated by the administration, including a military response to the attack on the allied nation of Saudi Arabia, intelligence and military analysts told SaraACarter.com.
The decision comes in the wake of 17 attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil refineries on Saturday. On Tuesday, Yemeni Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for Saturday’s attacks. The attacks have temporarily halted Saudi Arabia’s oil production in half. It also sent oil prices sky rocketing throughout the globe.
I have just instructed the Secretary of the Treasury to substantially increase Sanctions on the country of Iran!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 18, 2019
Sanctions Don’t Rule Out Military Options
U.S. Intelligence officials, however, have dismissed the Yemeni Houthi rebels claim in the attack, noting that the attacks were sophisticated and stating that intelligence suggests the attacks were ordered and carried out by the Iranian regime.
Daniel Hoffman, a retired former chief of the CIA Middle East Department, told SaraACarter.com on Wednesday, that the increase in sanctions, which is necessary “doesn’t rule out that there can be a military counterstrike as well.”
“Clearly we need to resolve our diplomatic impasse with Iran and right now we’re negotiating on how to do it,” said Hoffman, who is also a Fox News contributor. “That negotiating includes some high risk military action by Iran, along with it increasing sanctions by the United States.”
Hoffman said that the U.S. military and the Intelligence community are collecting evidence and information as to the what exactly happened during the Saturday attacks on Saudi Arabia.
He also noted, that “concurrently the U.S. military and intelligence community is putting together a list of options and that will be done in coordination with the rest of the president’s executive team. It could also include doing nothing. But there are diplomatic responses, economic responses and military responses that the U.S. will be weighing in on.”
There are three major issues
- Massive sanctions that cripple Iran’s economy that will force them back to the table on our terms
- Deterrence of Iranian kinetic attacks on U.S. assets, allied assets, and allied nations.
- Negotiations – that’s the final offramp. This is the option that can take place if Iran agrees to U.S. conditions. For example, Trump can eventually still offer a meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
Iran Warns It Will Retaliate
The Iranian regime warned the U.S. on Tuesday that it would retaliate against any attacks on its nation.
The Iranian news agencies reported Wednesday that a message was sent from Iran via the Swiss Embassy in Tehran that handles U.S. affairs in the country. It condemned remarks by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accusing Iran of the attacks.
“Iran’s response will be prompt and strong, and it may include broader areas than the source of attacks,” the Mehr News Agency reported the official note as saying.
However, referencing Iran’s previous attack on a U.S. drone on June, 19, Hoffman noted that Trump “held back from military retaliation and instead, went for a non-kinetic response of targeting Iran with cyber attacks on the Iranian Revolutionary Guards missile-control systems.” Moreover, Trump also announced new sanctions against numerous high ranking Iranian officials.
The question remains will Trump’s heightened sanctions deter Iran from future attacks and what will Iran do in response to these sanctions?
“At the heart of this, Iran is attacking their regional enemy Saudi Arabia and they are also trying to destabilize the global energy market,” Hoffman added. “They want to induce us to eliminate the crippling sanctions on their nation and return to the flawed to JCPOA nuclear deal.”
“Iran is practicing nuclear blackmail, they’ve launched all these attacks as part of that strategy,” he said. “Neither the U.S. or Iran want a full scale war but Iran’s actions could continue to escalate the crisis. The administration will be asked what are you doing to stop the escalation.”
Part of that strategy will rely on Pompeo, who is expected to arrive and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia Wednesday for talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Reports from the region suggest they will discuss the attacks and what steps to take next in lieu of Iran’s continued push to destabilize their Arab neighbors.
Trump has said that his administration is investigating investigation of the incident and has said he would “like to avoid” a war.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., told reporters in London that Iran was more than likely the culprit of the attacks.
He said U.S. military could “help the Saudis defend themselves.”