SWITZERLAND, SEPTEMBER 19 – President Donald Trump on Wednesday said he ordered a major increase in sanctions on Iran in the latest U.S. move to pressure Tehran, which U.S. officials say probably carried out a crippling weekend attack on Saudi oil facilities.
Trump gave no explanation in a brief Twitter posting announcing the order, but the initiative follows repeated U.S. assertions that the Islamic Republic was behind Saturday’s attack on the kingdom, a close U.S. ally.
“I have just instructed the Secretary of the Treasury to substantially increase sanctions on the country of Iran!,” he wrote.
Iran, however, again denied involvement in the Sept. 14 raids, which hit the world’s biggest crude processing facility and initially knocked out half of Saudi production.
“They want to impose maximum … pressure on Iran through slander,” Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said.
“We don’t want conflict in the region … Who started the conflict?” he added, blaming Washington and its Gulf allies for the war in Yemen.
Yemen’s Houthi movement, an ally of Iran battling a Western-backed, Saudi-led coalition for more than four years, has claimed responsibility and said it used drones to assault state oil company Aramco’s sites.