US President Donald Trump has said the United States will not lift sanctions against Iran, saying he has rejected the Iranians‘ request to meet with them in return for lifting sanctions.
The Hill newspaper reported that members of Congress had received secret briefings on Wednesday over Iran’s involvement in the attacks on Saudi oil facilities, which the Trump administration blamed on Tehran.
Senators said that the Senate briefing was provided by Pentagon and US intelligence officials.
After the briefing, Sen. Lindsey Graham, a close ally of President Trump, called for a military response to deliver the appropriate message to Iran, adding that he believed President Trump was “waiting for what will happen to form an alliance”.
Graham stressed the need for military deterrence, saying: “I am more determined now than ever that Iran should be deterred militarily. Sanctions will never do the job and we have to think about military retaliation. “I hope the president will respond in a way that the Iranians are not in doubt about the price they will have to pay for confusing the world,” he said, referring to the damage to the global economy.
The Republican Senator, Mitt Romney, after the secret briefing, commented: “I certainly support the right of the Saudis to do what they think is in their interest. Their country has been attacked,” adding: “I would prefer our army not to take part in the military response directly”.
On Monday, Britain, Germany, and France, allies of the United States, joined in blaming Iran and its involvement in the attack on Saudi Arabia, in an official statement saying that “there is no other reasonable explanation”.
In a joint statement, the three countries, which are still parties to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, from which the United States has withdrawn, said that “the time has come for Iran to accept the negotiation of a long-term framework for its nuclear program as well as on issues related to regional security, including the missile program and other issues”.
For its part, the Trump administration considered this statement as a sign that the Europeans are getting closer to the Trump administration’s stance on the inadequacy of the nuclear deal.
“We agree with the important European statement as it is time for a new, comprehensive deal that is better than the previous agreement,” the Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Morgan Orgatos said on Tuesday.
The Trump administration has so far reacted to Iranian attacks by imposing sanctions on Iran’s central bank and agreeing to deploy more US troops and missile defense equipment in Saudi Arabia.