Democratic Senator Martin Heinrich has called on the United States to ban all oil imports from Saudi Arabia in the wake of the brutal killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
Khashoggi went missing in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in early October before reports claimed that the Saudi Arabian administration had sent agents to kill him. After a couple of weeks of silence and mounting international pressure, Saudi Arabia admitted that Khashoggi had been killed, but attributed his death to a rogue two-star general.
However, Saudi Arabia’s explanation of Khashoggi’s death has not convinced a number of international leaders, and Trump, who had earlier seemed predisposed to assuming crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman innocent, is now reportedly worried about the how the entire incident is going to play out.
And now, calls at home asking the United States to take a stern action against the Middle Eastern nation have gathered pace. The Inquisitr reported yesterday that Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders was one of the leaders calling for the U.S. to re-evaluate its relationship with Riyadh, but now another Senator has outdone him. Martin Heinrich, who is running for re-election from New Mexico, is calling on the U.S. to ban all oil imports from Saudi Arabia until a transparent investigation is launched into Khashoggi’s killing.
“The United States cannot allow this gross human rights violation to go unanswered,” Heinrich said in his statement, according to The Hill.
“I am therefore calling for a ban on oil imports from Saudi Arabia until the highest levels of Saudi government are held accountable for their actions.”
He is the first Senator to have called for such a drastic measure.
In his statement, Heinrich also appeared to take a dig at president Trump, who has hailed his relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia ever since the Middle Eastern kingdom agreed to buy $110 billion worth of arms during Trump’s visit to the country last year. Heinrich said that it appears that Trump “would rather embrace denials and cover-ups rather than hold those responsible accountable.”
“The Saudis clearly believe they can evade real consequences under President Trump’s leadership and we as a country must stand up and prove them wrong,” Heinrich added.
Trump has oscillated in his responses to Khashoggi’s killing. While his initial response was to not question Saudi Arabia over the murder, recent reports suggest that he has become increasingly concerned about his son-in-law Jared Kushner’s relationship with crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman, reportedly considering it a “liability” for the administration.