Trump says he has ‘many options’ on Iran

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LOS ANGELES — President Trump said Wednesday that his administration is considering “many options” to respond to Iran following attacks on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia.

Trump provided few details on what options were being discussed but said they included military action and that the “ultimate option” would be “war.”

{mosads}At the same time, Trump signaled that little had changed in his thinking from two days earlier when he said he wanted to avoid armed conflict with Iran.

“We’ll see what happens. We have many options that we’re considering. There are many options,” Trump told reporters Wednesday before boarding Air Force One to depart Los Angeles for a fundraising event in San Diego.

“There’s the ultimate option and there are options that are a lot less than that,” Trump said, speaking alongside his new national security adviser, Robert O’Brien.

The president also teased a forthcoming announcement from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the attacks and said his administration would provide more details on new economic sanctions on Tehran that he announced earlier in the day.

“We’ll be adding some very significant sanctions on Iran,” Trump said, noting that more details would be released within 48 hours.

He also defended his stance on Iran, hitting back at criticism from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), one of his Capitol Hill allies who has called for more decisive action in response to Saturday’s oil facility attacks.

“Ask Lindsey how did going into the Middle East, how did that work out? And how did going into Iraq work out? So, we have a disagreement on that. And we have plenty of time to do some dastardly things,” Trump said when asked about Graham’s criticism.

“If we have to do something we’ll do it, without hesitation,” Trump said.

Administration officials have blamed Iran for the attacks on two oil sites in Saudi Arabia that took out roughly 5 percent of the global oil supply. Pompeo, who is in Saudi Arabia, on Wednesday called the attacks an “act of war” by Iran.

Trump, however, has not definitively blamed Iran for the attacks, saying only that Iran was the likely culprit but that he was waiting on a final assessment from the U.S. intelligence community.

He told reporters Wednesday that “we’re really at a point now where we know very much what happened.”

Asked whether he agreed with Pompeo’s assessment that the attacks represented an act of war, Trump replied: “He spoke to me a little while ago and we’ll have an announcement.”

Trump’s actions so far suggest he is averse to military action in response to the attack, though he insists that military action remains an option and has emphasized the strength of the U.S. military.

Earlier in the day, Trump, who is on a fundraising swing through California, said he had instructed the Treasury Department to “substantially” increase economic sanctions on Iran without mentioning the attacks. The administration has not released details about who the sanctions would target.

Tags Donald Trump Lindsey Graham Mike Pompeo
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