Trump dismisses report of plan to send 120K troops to Middle East

Trump offers Iran direct line to White House report says

The state-run oil giant Saudi Aramco temporarily shut down the pipeline to evaluate its condition and was working to restore operations, while a fire which broke out at one of the pump stations has since been contained, according to Falih.

Speaking with reporters in New Delhi after meeting with his Indian counterpart, Zarif said, "We discussed the regional issues and dangers that the policies of extremist individuals in the USA administration are trying to impose on the region, as well as concerns about the suspicious and sabotage acts that happen in our region", according to Iran's state news service, Fars.

USA and allied intelligence assessments indicate Iran was also behind sabotaging two Saudi oil tankers on Monday. Al Jazeera reported Tuesday that USA military officials are investigating that attack.

The New York Times reported late on Monday that the Pentagon had developed an "updated military plan" that would involve sending as much as 120,000 troops to the Middle East if Iran were to attack U.S. forces or accelerate its nuclear weapons program.

Terrorists have attacked two pumping stations in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday morning, according to the energy minister Khalid Al-Falih.

Despite that stance, his government has taken an increasingly hard line with Iran, a longtime foe of the United States and key USA allies Israel and Saudi Arabia.

European Union officials met Monday in Brussels to thrash out ways to keep the Iran nuclear deal afloat.

His comments came after four commercial ships were targeted in a "sabotage attack" off the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Sunday.

The U.S. has warned ships that "Iran or its proxies" could be targeting maritime traffic in the region, and America has moved additional ships and aircraft into the region.

Oil prices rose more than $1 a barrel on Monday but then fell with Wall Street as the negative turn in U.S.

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"This act of terrorism and sabotage, in addition to recent acts in the Arabian Gulf, do not only target the kingdom but also the security of world oil supplies and the global economy", Falih said. "Fortunately, the attack didn't lead to any casualties or oil spill; however, it caused significant damage to the structures of the two vessels".

India is helping Iran develop Chabahar Port on the Gulf of Oman for trade with Afghanistan and Central Asia, bypassing Pakistan, which has refused to provide New Delhi access through a land route.

Asked whether the United States believed Iran played a role in the attacks, Brian Hook, the USA special envoy for Iran, declined to comment, saying only that U.S. authorities would be assisting the investigation at the request of the UAE.

"It's going to be a bad problem for Iran if something happens", he added. Instead, he said, Iran has "chosen the path of resistance", adding that USA officials know it's not in their interest to engage in a hot military conflict.

"The kingdom condemns this cowardly attack".

The United States has strengthened its military presence in the region, including deploying a number of strategic B-52 bombers in response to alleged Iranian threats.

Trump last week declared himself open to talks with the Iranian leadership, a position reiterated on Monday by Brian Hook, the USA special envoy for Iran.

The United States said on Monday night it is assisting Emirati authorities on the investigation into the attack.

The development in Saudi's local conflict with the Houthis opens a new front in its regional struggle with Iran.



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