Trump speaks with Saudi crown prince after calling off Iran strike

President Trump spoke with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to discuss Iranian behavior just hours after calling off a retaliatory strike against Iran at the last minute.

White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said in a statement that the two leaders spoke over the phone on Friday about “the threat posed by the Iranian regime’s escalatory behavior” and “Saudi Arabia’s critical role in ensuring stability in the Middle East and in the global oil market.”

{mosads}Friday’s call came amid escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran.

Iran shot down a U.S. Navy surveillance drone late Wednesday, with the two sides disputing where it occurred. Tehran has said the drone was flying over Iranian airspace, while American officials have been adamant the aircraft was in international airspace.

Trump then tweeted Friday morning that the U.S. was “cocked and loaded” to carry out a retaliatory strike against Iran before he pulled back at the last minute upon learning there could be 150 casualties.

“We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights when I asked, how many will die. 150 people, sir, was the answer from a General,” Trump tweeted. “10 minutes before the strike I stopped it, not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone.”

Oil futures rose on Friday amid fears that a conflict between the U.S. and Iran could drive up prices.

Two oil tankers were attacked in the Gulf of Oman earlier this week. The Trump administration blamed Iran for the incident, but the president downplayed it as “very minor.”

Saudi Arabia has been an ally of U.S. interests in the Middle East, a point Trump has stressed even amid tense points in the relationship between the two countries, such as last year’s killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The Senate on Thursday delivered a rebuke to the Saudis by voting to block Trump’s Saudi arms deal and setting up a potential veto from the White House.

The 22 arms sales, estimated to be worth more than $8 billion, would provide weapons to Saudi Arabia, as well as the United Arab Emirates and Jordan.

Tags Donald Trump Iran oil Saudi Arabia

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