Trump may meet Iran leader despite Saudi attacks, says White House

The White House said yesterday President Donald Trump may still meet his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani, despite the United States accusing Iran of masterminding drone attacks on Saudi Arabian oil facilities.

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway did not rule out the possibility in a television interview broadcast as Saudi Arabia raced to restart operations at oil plants hit by drone attacks that slashed its production.

Tehran-backed Huthi rebels in neighboring Yemen claimed Saturday’s strikes on two plants owned by state giant Aramco, but US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran, saying there was no evidence the “unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply” was launched from Yemen.

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Conway told “Fox News Sunday” that Trump would “consider” following up on his suggestion of a meeting at the upcoming United Nations General Assembly session in New York, adding that “the conditions must always be right for this president to make a deal or take a meeting.”

Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres yesterday condemned the drone attacks and called on those involved to prevent escalation.  “The Secretary-General condemns Saturday’s attacks on Aramco oil facilities in the Eastern Province in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia claimed by the Houthis,” according to a statement from spokesman Stephane Dujarric.  “The Secretary-General calls upon all parties to exercise maximum restraint, prevent any escalation amid heightened tensions and to comply at all times with International Humanitarian Law.”  Arch-foes Tehran and Washington have been at loggerheads since May last year when Trump withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal and began reimposing punitive measures. Iran responded by scaling back its commitments to the multination accord, which gave it the promise of sanctions relief in return for curbs on its nuclear program.

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