White House reviews military plans against Iran

The USS Abraham Lincoln in the waters of Western Pacific Ocean in 2004. The ship is now heading to the Middle East

However, Al-Falih stressed that the production and exports of Saudi crude oil and products will continue "without interruption".

The United States is considering military options against Iran, according to a report from The New York Times Monday. "Which means activating a lot of the assets they've developed potentially in Lebanon, in Iraq, and conducting ballistic missile strikes".

Meanwhile, the Gulf Cooperation Council on Sunday termed the attack on the four commercial vessels as "dangerous escalation (that) speaks of the evil intentions", reported CNN. "Our goal is to respond to the crimes they are committing every day against the Yemeni people", Abdel-Salam told the AP. It wasn't immediately known where the Houthis launched the drones.

On Monday, The New York Times reported that last Thursday senior defense officials reviewed plans to send 120,000 troops to the Middle East in the event that Iran attacks USA troops in the region or begins ramping up its nuclear program.

In additional comments Monday, Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the "acts of sabotage" and expressed solidarity with the UAE, the Saudi Press Agency reported, citing an official source at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Falih said the attack aimed to undermine maritime freedom and "security of oil supplies to consumers all over the world".

Houthi spokesperson Mohamed Abdel Salam threatened further attacks on Saudi Arabia and said its forces had not ruled out the possibility of targeting the UAE. It was built during the Iran-Iraq war during the early 1980s, but was later converted to natural gas.

A fifth of global oil consumption passes through the Strait of Hormuz from Middle East crude producers to major markets in Asia, Europe, North America and beyond.

Fox News quoted a source on Monday night who said a US military team has examined the four commercial vessels damaged by explosions off the coast of the UAE on Sunday and concluded agents of Iran or its proxy forces attacked them. "The ship is not in any danger of sinking", Thome said in a statement.

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Two of the ships were Saudi oil tankers, which suffered "significant damage", according to Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister. The broadcast only showed one side of the ship, which bore no signs of damage, describing it as the closest one to shore in Fujairah. Last Sunday, Bolton announced that an aircraft carrier, the USS Abraham Lincoln, and a number of bombers would be headed to the Persian Gulf in response to unspecified warnings that Iran and its proxies were preparing to attack USA forces in the region. The official was not authorized to discuss the investigation and thus spoke on condition of anonymity.

The announcement by the kingdom's energy minister Khalid al Falih came as tensions soared in a region already shaken by a stand-off between the United States and Iran. America is deploying an aircraft carrier, USS Abraham Lincoln, and B-52 bombers to the Persian Gulf to counter alleged, still-unspecified threats from Tehran.

The foreign ministry of the United Arab Emirates also condemned the attack as "new proof of the Houthis' hostile and terrorist tendencies". Neither we nor them (the US) seek war.

The United Nations called on all sides to "exercise restraint for the sake of regional peace".

On Tuesday, Spain temporarily pulled one of its frigates that was part of a USA -led combat fleet from near the Persian Gulf because of the mounting tensions.

It is a part of a collection of pipelines providing an alternative to the Strait of Hormuz. This project is unlikely to be hit by the USA sanctions on Iran.

Brian Hook, the U.S. special representative for Iran, told RFE/RL that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered that message to European leaders in Brussels on May 13 - adding that Washington was "just trying to restore deterrence".

Such drones remain hard to shoot down with either light or heavy weapons.

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