Republican senator Lindsey Graham, a prominent foreign policy hawk, suggested that hitting the country’s own refineries would “break the regime’s back”.
“Iran will not stop their misbehaviour until the consequences become more real,” he tweeted on Saturday night.
Mr Graham added: “Iranian supported Houthi rebels who attacked Saudi oil refineries is yet another example of how Iran is wreaking havoc in the Middle East. The Iranian regime is not interested in peace – they’re pursuing nuclear weapons and regional dominance.
“It is now time for the US to put on the table an attack on Iranian oil refineries if they continue their provocations or increase nuclear enrichment.”
US secretary of state Mike Pompeo also blamed Iran for the attacks on the world’s largest oil processing facility in Buqyaq and an oilfield in Khurais, which cut Saudi Arabia’s crude oil supply by around 50 per cent.
“Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply,” he said, adding that the US would ensure that “Iran is held accountable for its aggression”.
The growing clamour for a confrontation with Iran comes just five days after the president sacked his national security adviser John Bolton, who was an outspoken advocate of regime change. It had even been suggested that Mr Trump was interested in renegotiating a new deal with the Middle Eastern country.
- Read more
Iran rejected Mr Pompeo’s statement as “maxium lies” and asserted that it “has always been ready for a ‘full-fledged war’”.
“Everybody should know that all American bases and their aircraft carriers in a distance of up to 2,000km around Iran are within the range of our missiles,” the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps Aerospace Force, Amirali Hajizadeh, said on Sunday.
Saudi Arabia claims Iran is arming the Houthi rebel group and has blamed its regional rival for previous attacks. It intervened in the Yemen civil war against the Houthis in 2015 and the conflict is now regarded as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
However, critics of the Trump administration’s decision to blame Iran described it as an “irresponsible simplification”, with some speculating that the recent departure of John Bolton as national security adviser has increased the risk of armed conflict with the country.
Support free-thinking journalism and attend Independent events
“It’s how we get into dumb wars,” said Democratic senator and committee member Chris Murphy. “Iran is backing the Houthis and has been a bad actor, but it’s just not as simple as Houthis equals Iran.”
Additional reporting by Associated Press