Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called the recent attacks on Saudi Arabia oil fields that initially knocked out half the country’s oil output an “act of war.” Pompeo made the statement on Wednesday upon arrival in Saudi Arabia, where he is set to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to discuss the situation. Before arriving, Pompeo said he had “high confidence” that the attack did not originate from Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who initially claimed the attack. “This was an Iranian attack,” he said. “It didn’t come from the Houthis.” That assertion was supported during a Saudi press conference on Wednesday when a defense ministry spokesman said the attack was “unquestionably sponsored by Iran.”
Earlier this week, President Trump said that the United States military is “locked and loaded depending on verification” of where the attack originated; but has also said, pending an investigation, he would “like to avoid” a war. On Wednesday, Trump announced that he has instructed the Treasury secretary to increase sanctions on Iran. Iran has denied any involvement in the oil field strike. Pompeo and United Nations officials are reportedly evaluating the attack.