United States President Donald Trump has said there are better options than a war in tackling Iran over its alleged complicity in the attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities.

 “There are many options. There’s the ultimate option and there are options that are a lot less than that. And we’ll see,” Trump told reporters in Los Angeles. “I’m saying the ultimate option meaning— war.”

Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest oil exporter. The Trump news noted the President was diplomatic and did not endorse Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s description of the Saudi attack as “an act of war” on the kingdom.

Trump had said previously that he was not in a rush to go to war and would talk to the Gulf and European states on the matter.

Trump prefers moderate options

Meanwhile, a New York Times report said Trump’s team has mooted many options other than a retaliatory strike.

They include stringent sanctions that would gag Iran’s economy, sending more American forces to the region and starting a cyber campaign to keep Tehran on notice.

Trump’s wait-and-watch approach was well evident in his comments to the media.

“It’s very easy to attack, but if you ask Lindsey, ask him how did going into the Middle East, how did that workout? And how did going into Iraq work out?” Trump said referring to Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina who warned against showing any leniency toward Iran.

In a tweet, Trump also said he has instructed the U.S. Treasury to “substantially increase sanctions” on Iran and the punitive economic measures would be unveiled soon.

Trump’s tweet followed repeated assertions by the U.S. that Iran was behind Saturday’s attacks and Saudi Arabia called the strike a “test of global will."

Saudi Defense Ministry spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki alleged that the attack was unquestionably "sponsored by Iran and was launched from the north."

However, Iran continued to deny any hand in the Sept. 14 raids. Officially the attack was owned up by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi group, said Yemen news.

The Houthis on Wednesday warned that they would also target sites in the United Arab Emirates. The UAE is a top ally of Riyadh in the Gulf region.

Iran warns all-out war if attacked

Meanwhile, Iran's foreign minister Javad Zarif on Thursday threatened “all-out war” if the U.S. or Saudi military strikes his country.

Denying Tehran's involvement in the Saudi attacks Zarif told CNN that Yemen's Houthi rebels have the military capabilities for conducting such operations.  President Donald Trump says the US is prepared to take military action on Saudi Arabia's behalf after attacks allegedly linked to Iran damaged major Saudi oil facilities President Donald Trump says the US is prepared to take military action on Saudi Arabia's behalf after attacks allegedly linked to Iran damaged major Saudi oil facilities Photo: AFP / MANDEL NGAN

Zarif said: “I know that we didn't do it. I know that the Houthis made a statement that they did it.”

Iran news also quoted the foreign minister warning of “a lot of casualties” in the event of any military response based on “deception.”

Zarif said Iran wanted to avoid conflicts and will talk to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates if required. 

On doing negotiations with the U.S, Zarif said, that would not happen until Washington withdraws all sanctions it committed under the 2015 nuclear deal.