Politics

Russia slams Trump's call to increase sanctions on Iran

Key Points
  • Russia's Foreign Ministry slams U.S. President Donald Trump's decision Wednesday to tighten sanctions on Iran following strikes Saturday on the world's largest crude-processing plant and an oil field in Saudi Arabia.
  • The U.S. accuseds Iran of carrying out the attacks that forced the Saudi kingdom to shut down half its oil production.
  • Russia, Iran's top ally, calls the sanctions "destructive" and adds that they "will not solve anything," Reuters reported, citing news agency Interfax.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani attend a news conference, after a meeting in the Black sea resort of Sochi, Russia, 14 February 2019.
Sergei Chirikov | Pool via Reuters

WASHINGTON — Russia's Foreign Ministry slammed U.S. President Donald Trump's decision Wednesday to tighten sanctions on Iran.

The U.S. accused Iran of carrying out strikes Saturday on the world's largest crude-processing plant and oil field in Saudi Arabia. The attacks forced the Saudi kingdom to shut down half of its oil production operations.

Russia, Iran's top ally, called the sanctions "destructive" and added that they "will not solve anything," Reuters reported, citing news agency Interfax.

Trump announced via Twitter on Wednesday that he ordered the Treasury Department to "substantially increase" sanctions on Iran.

It was not immediately clear what steps Trump directed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to take. The Treasury Department, White House and State Department did not immediately respond to CNBC's requests for comment.

Saturday's pre-dawn strikes on Saudi Arabian oil facilities triggered the largest spike in crude prices in decades and renewed concerns of a budding conflict in the Middle East. All the while, Iran maintains that it was not behind the attacks.

Oil prices have since fallen back as Saudi Arabia said production would return to normal sooner than expected.

On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia's defense ministry said that drone and missile debris recovered by investigators shows Iranian culpability. Saudi coalition spokesman Col. Turki al-Maliki said during a press briefing in Riyadh that all military components retrieved from the oil facilities "point to Iran."

Remains of the missiles which were used to attack an Aramco oil facility, are displayed during a news conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia September 18, 2019.
Hamad Mohammed | Reuters

The latest confrontation follows a string of attacks in the Persian Gulf in recent months.

In June, U.S. officials said an Iranian surface-to-air missile shot down an American military surveillance drone over the Strait of Hormuz. Iran said the aircraft was over its territory. Hours later, Trump said Iran made a "very big mistake" by shooting down the spy drone. The downing came a week after the U.S. blamed Iran for attacks on two oil tankers in the Persian Gulf region and after four tankers were attacked in May.

The U.S. in June slapped new sanctions on Iranian military leaders blamed for shooting down the drone. The measures also aimed to block financial resources for Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Though Trump has threatened to bring military action or even "fire and fury" against American adversaries, he has also said he does not want to throw the U.S. into another prolonged military conflict. In a tweet Tuesday, Trump called his measured response to the strikes "a sign of strength that some people just don't understand!"

— Jacob Pramuk contributed to this report from CNBC's global headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.