US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo endorsed Saudi Arabia's "right to defend Saudi Arabia" and stated that Iran's behavior "will not be tolerated" in a meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) , according to a statement on his official Twitter account Thursday.
Pompeo again condemned the weekend attack on Saudi oil fields, which knocked out half of the country's oil production. The US envoy also backed a call by Saudi Arabia for international experts to travel to the country for investigation, the Saudi news agency SPA said in a separate statement.
At a meeting, MBS recounts Pompeo's attacks on state-owned oil company Saudi Aramco aimed at destabilizing security in the region and damaging global energy supply.
In a speech to reporters en route to Jed Pompeo, he described the attacks on key oil installations as an "act of war" and reiterated that it was an "Iranian attack".
Iran has repeatedly denied that it was behind the attacks that have intensified tensions in the region.
He met with # Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman today to discuss the unprecedented attacks against Saudi Arabia's oil infrastructure. The United States stands with #SaudiArabia and supports its right to defend itself. The threatening behavior of the Iranian regime will not be tolerated.
̵1; Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) September 18, 2019
Yemen Houthi rebels, who since 2015 have been imprisoned in a war with a Saudi-led coalition, have taken responsibility for the attacks, warning Riyadh that theirs
But Saudi and US officials said the evidence showed Iranian involvement.
Just before Pompeo's comments, Saudi military personnel held a press conference and showed fragments of alleged weapons used during the attacks, saying there was "indisputable" evidence of Iranian aggression.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Defense said there was no way the attacks had been undertaken by Yemen.
"The attack was launched from the north and unquestionably sponsored by Iran," said Saudi Colonel Turki al-Malki. "We're working to know the exact launch point."
Al-Malki did not directly blame Iran for the attack when asked by journalists. He said once the "culprits" were identified, they would be "held accountable".
Trump and Saudi Arabia officials the need for caution in responding to attacks. The US president has said he does not want a war and is coordinating with the Gulf and European countries.
Hilary Man Leverett, CEO of Strategic Risk Consultations Strategist and former US diplomat, told Al Jazeera that the Saudis use the word "sponsorship" to indicate a degree of caution against his current diplomatic isolation.
They have no guarantee that the United States will support them in retaliating against Iran or anyone else, "she said." They are in a really difficult position with very few opportunities. They are trying to present what evidence they can, but there is much doubt here in Washington. And I think all over the world what the Saudis have to say, considering the record with Yemen, the killing of Hashogi, and other issues. "
Earlier on Wednesday, Trump said he had ordered a significant increase in sanctions on Iran, but did not provide details.
It is not yet clear what Pompeo's comments mean about the US response to the attacks
US media, citing unnamed US officials, reported on Tuesday that evidence showed Saturday's attacks occurred in southwestern Iran.
Three officials said they included cruise missiles and drones, indicating higher degree of complexity and complexity than at first US does not disclose its evidence.
Officials also do not provide evidence or explain what US intelligence uses to assess the attack, which takes five percent of world oil production.  it has raised concerns that further action by any country may quickly escalate a confrontation that has been raging just below the surface in the wider region in recent months.
In June, Trump canceled a military attack on Iran at the last minute after Tehran took down an unmanned U.S. military drone. Iran maintains that the drone was in Iranian airspace. The US claims that it was in international territory.
These tensions have been simmering since Trump withdrew the United States from the 2015 nuclear deal, which restricted Tehran's nuclear activities and restored sanctions that have sent Iran's economy to the back.
Al Jazeera and news agencies