In the wake of devastating drone and cruise missile strikes on oil facility sites in Saudi Arabia allegedly carried out by Iran, President Donald Trump answered the kingdom’s call for international military assistance on Friday.
Trump authorized both U.S. military troops and missile defense equipment to be deployed to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, doing so through an announcement at the Pentagon from Defense Secretary Mark Esper.
“In response to the kingdom’s request, the president has approved the deployment of U.S. forces, which will be defensive in nature and primarily focused on air and missile defense,” Esper said.
He also bolstered the Trump administration’s claim that Iran was responsible for the drone and cruise missile strike which disrupted the global oil supply, saying “all indications are that Iran was responsible for the attack.”
Esper was joined by Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford in briefing the president on a range of potential military operations against Iran on Friday. Neither of them indicated any specific numbers in regard to U.S. troop deployments but did indicate that it wouldn’t be in the thousands. Dunford said details of the deployment would be shared next week.
There also seemed to be a sense of urgency in getting those approved U.S. resources to both countries, as Esper announced that they would “accelerate the delivery” of the military equipment in order to make sure both countries were ready to take defensive measures if need be.
Esper hinted that sending U.S. military resources to Saudi Arabia and the UAE — both of which are strong U.S. allies — is meant to “send a clear message” to the region that the United States will “demonstrate commitment to upholding the international rules based order that we have long called on Iran to obey.”
According to NBC News, Esper also reiterated Trump’s take on the increasingly tense situation.
“As the President has made clear the United States does not seek conflict with Iran. That said we have many other military options available should they be necessary,” he said.
The discussion between Esper, Dunford, and the president on Friday came on the heels of Trump’s announcement of a new round of harsh financial sanctions against Iran, as reported previously by The Inquisitr.
Trump called the sanctions the “highest sanctions ever imposed on a country,” and claimed that it had never been done before. Iran has called previous rounds of U.S. sanctions “economic warfare.”
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin described the latest round of sanctions as a devastating blow to Iran’s chances of receiving any kind of international funding, as they specifically targeted Iran’s national bank.
Iran still maintains that they were not involved in the Saudi oil site attacks.