Donald Trump accused Iran of lying about its involvement in an attack on a Saudi Arabian oil facility, saying Monday that the regime has a history of making false claims about its corrosive actions.
He pointed to a July incident, in which Tehran shot down an American drone in the Strait of Hormuz it claimed was flying over American airspace, as evidence of Iran's deceit.
'Remember when Iran shot down a drone, saying knowingly that it was in their “airspace” when, in fact, it was nowhere close. They stuck strongly to that story knowing that it was a very big lie. Now they say that they had nothing to do with the attack on Saudi Arabia. We’ll see?' he wrote.
Donald Trump accused Iran of lying about its involvement in an attack on a Saudi Arabian oil facility, saying Monday that the regime has a history of making false claims about its corrosive actions
Trump said Sunday night America is 'locked and loaded' as it waits for confirmation that Iran was behind drone attacks on Saudi oil plants after Tehran warned it was 'ready for full-fledged war.'
The U.S. president suggested that Iran was behind the assault but left
'Saudi Arabia oil supply was attacked. There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!'
Presidential hopeful Beto O'Rourke immediately condemned 'As President I will not go to war for Saudi Arabia, nor will I let Saudi Arabia dictate our foreign policy.'
The Trump administration released black and white satellite images of damage to the oil field and refinery, which they claimed showed all the impacts came from the north or northwest, in the direction of Iran and Iraq.
Donald Trump (pictured on Thursday) has claimed America is 'locked and loaded' as it waits for confirmation Iran was was behind drone attacks on Saudi oil plants on Saturday
A satellite image from Planet Labs Inc. shows thick black smoke rising from Saudi Aramco's Abqaiq oil processing facility in Buqyaq, Saudi Arabia
Attacks on two plants at the heart of the kingdom's oil industry Saturday knocked out more than half of Saudi crude output. Smoke is seen coming from the factory in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia
The regime in Tehran has denied any involvement in the blasts, describing accusations against it 'unacceptable' and 'baseless', and adding it is ready for 'full-fledged war' if the U.S. takes action.
Iran-backed Houthi rebels, which operate out of Yemen, have officially claimed responsibility.
Attacks on the world's largest oil refinery at Abqaiq and an oil field at Khurais have knocked out more than half of Saudi crude output, or five per cent of global supply.
Elsewhere on Monday:
Global energy prices spiked Monday as a result, as the markets absorbed the impact of the largest disruption to supplies in history.
Benchmark Brent crude gained nearly 20 per cent in the first moments of trading Monday before settling down to 10 per cent higher as trading continued. A barrel of Brent traded up $6 to $66.28.
U.S. benchmark West Texas crude was up around 9 per cent. U.S. gasoline and heating oil similarly were up over 8 per cent and 7 per cent respectively before markets opened in New York.
Analysts described the attacks as a 'turning point' for world oil markets that had been buoyed up by the impression of plentiful supply created by the shale gas boom in America, which has lessened its dependence on imports.
The blasts prove that the US is still vulnerable to cuts in supply, particularly as the Arabian Gulf descends towards all-out conflict.
RBC Capital Markets, an energy industry analyst, said: 'From our standpoint, we see today's attacks pushing the region ever closer to a military confrontation.
'All summer, oil has been a broken barometer for gauging the pressure building in the region but it may be time for recalibration.'
A 5.7 million barrels a day outage is the worst single disruption in oil market history, surpassing the loss Iranian oil output in 1979 during the Islamic Revolution.
The disruption will hit Asia the hardest, since they are the principal importers of Saudi Arabian oil.
China on Monday urged the United States and Iran to 'exercise restraint' after a drone attack on Saudi oil infrastructure, which Washington has blamed on Tehran.
Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying also said it was not responsible to accuse others 'in the absence of a conclusive investigation or verdict'.
'The Chinese side's position is that we oppose all actions that enlarge or intensify conflict,' she told reporters at a regular press briefing in Beijing.
'We hope that both sides can exercise restraint and jointly safeguard the peace and stability of the Middle East,' she added.
Trump's tweets followed a National Security Council meeting at the White House that included Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Mark Esper.
Pompeo has led accusation against Iran following the attacks, accusing Tehran of being responsible.
Dominic Raab, the UK Foreign Secretary, said the attack 'was a wanton violation of international law' but refused to be drawn on who was behind it.
'In terms of who is responsible, the picture is not entirely clear,' Raab said. 'I want to have a very clear picture which we will be having shortly.
'This was a very serious attack on Saudi Arabia and the oil installations and it has implications for global oil markets and supply,' Raab said.
'It's a very serious, an outrageous act, and we need to have a clear and as united as possible international response to it.'
A US official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said all options, including a military response, were on the table, but said no decisions had been made Sunday.
On Monday, US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry has condemned what he called 'Iran's attack on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia' in an address to the International Atomic Energy Agency's general conference in Vienna.
Perry said on Monday in Austria that 'this behavior is unacceptable' and that Iran 'must be held responsible.'
He added: 'Make no mistake about it, this was a deliberate attack on the global economy and the global energy market.'
This images above provided on Sunday by the US government and DigitalGlobe show damage to the infrastructure at Saudi Aramco's Abaqaiq oil processing facility in Buqyaq, Saudi Arabia
A pre-strike overview of Saudi Aramco's Abaqaiq oil processing facility is pictured
This image shows damage to the infrastructure at Saudi Aramco's Khurais oil field
A pre-strike overview at Saudi Aramco's Khurais oil field is seen released by the US government
Trump's warning to Iran came after a senior Revolutionary Guard commander told the US that Iran was 'ready for full-fledged war'.
Amirali Hajizadeh, head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps Aerospace Force, warned that US military bases were within range of Iranian missiles.
He told Tasnim news agency: 'Everybody should know that all American bases and their aircraft carriers in a distance of up to 2,000km around Iran are within the range of our missiles.'
Shortly before 6pm ET, Trump said he has approved the release of US strategic petroleum reserves 'if needed' to stabilize energy markets.
He tweeted that the attacks could have an impact on oil prices and says the final amount of the release, if any, would be 'sufficient to keep the markets well-supplied.'
The federally owned petroleum reserve of hundreds of millions of barrels of crude oil has only been tapped three times, most recently in 2011 amid unrest in Libya.
The President then appeared to dispute comments of senior aides, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, saying he would be willing to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani without precondition.
He tweeted: 'The Fake News is saying that I am willing to meet with Iran, 'No Conditions.' That is an incorrect statement.'
But Mnuchin said Thursday that Trump had made clear 'he would sit down with Rouhani with no condition.' And Pompeo told reporters days earlier that 'the president has made clear he is happy to take a meeting with no preconditions.'
Iran has said it is unwilling to meet with Trump while crushing sanctions are in place over its nuclear program.
The US government produced satellite photos showing what officials said were at least 19 points of impact at two Saudi energy facilities, including damage at the heart of the kingdom's crucial oil processing plant at Abqaiq.
Officials said the photos show impacts consistent with the attack coming from the direction of Iran or Iraq, rather than from Yemen to the south.
Iraq denied that its territory was used for an attack on the kingdom. US officials said a strike from there would be a violation of Iraq's sovereignty.
The US officials said additional devices, which apparently didn't reach their targets, were recovered northwest of the facilities and are being jointly analyzed by Saudi and American intelligence.
The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, did not address whether the drone could have been fired from Yemen, then taken a round-about path, but did not explicitly rule it out.
Crude oil prices shot up 9.5% to $60 after trading opened Sunday evening in New York. A spike in oil prices could have negative effects for the global economy.
The President then appeared to dispute comments of senior aides saying he would be willing to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (pictured) without precondition
The attack interrupted the production of 5.7 million barrels a day.
The Wall Street Journal cited Saudi officials as saying a third of output would be restored on Monday, but a return to full production may take weeks. The Saudis say they will use other facilities and existing stocks to supplant the plant's production.
Experts have warned oil prices could nearly double to as much as $100 a barrel.
Tilak Doshi from Muse, Stancil and Co, said: 'In the oil universe, this attack is perhaps equivalent to the 9/11 attacks. Abqaiq is easily the world's single most important oil production and processing infrastructure site.'
Iran's foreign ministry on Saturday dismissed US accusations it was behind drone attacks on Saudi oil installations as 'meaningless', suggesting they were a pretext to retaliate against the Islamic republic.
Infernos raged at the plant in Abqaiq, Bugayg, and the country's second largest oilfield in Khurais after Tehran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen fired a flurry of rockets.
Huge plumes of black smoke could be seen coming from the oil facility.
A military spokesperson for these Yemeni rebels, who are locked into a bloody civil war, claimed responsibility for the strikes on Saudi Arabia's state-owned oil giant Aramco.
In a statement released by the Saudi Press Agency, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman bin Abdulaziz says explosions at Saudi Aramco's Khurais and Abqaiq plants caused several fires that were controlled, but there were no injuries.
Prince Abdulaziz says the attacks were aimed not only at Saudi Arabia, but also at the world's oil supply and its security.
Iran's foreign minister Mohammed Javad Zarif said Washington and its allies were 'stuck in Yemen' and that blaming Tehran 'won't end the disaster'.
Pompeo laid the sole blame at the feet of the Iranian regime, who he accused of mounting an 'unprecedented attack on the world's energy supply'.
President Trump's bullish diplomat tweeted: 'Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia while Rouhani and Zarif pretend to engage in diplomacy.
'Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world's energy supply. There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.'
Houthi military spokesman Yahia Sarie announced that the Houthi's were taking responsibility for the attacks on Saturday in a