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Mike Pompeo arrives in Saudi Arabia as Iran threatens US drones

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Following Iran’s shootdown of an American drone, tensions are high. But this is nothing new for the U.S. and Iran. We have the FAQs.
Just the FAQs, USA TODAY

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Saudi Arabia on Monday for talks with the kingdom’s leaders ahead of a planned announcement of new economic sanctions targeting Iran.

“Secretary Pompeo will meet with King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud to discuss ways to counter the malign Iranian influence in the region,” the State Department said in a statement.

Pompeo also will visit the United Arab Emirates in a bid to consolidate allies in the region en route to strengthening a global coalition against what the U.S. sees as Iranian aggression.

The sanctions ordered by President Donald Trump are in response to Iran shooting down a $100 million U.S. drone last week. The U.S. claims the drone was flying over international waters while Iran says it was over its territory.

On Monday, a defiant Iranian admiral said his military stands ready to shoot down more drones.

“The enemy dispatched its most sophisticated, smartest and most complicated surveillance aircraft to the banned area, and everyone saw the shooting down of the unmanned aerial vehicle,” Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi said. “We confidently say that this crushing response can be repeated … and the enemy is aware of this.”

Also Monday, Iranian Minister of Communication and Information Technology Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi denied reports in the U.S. media that the U.S. carried out a successful, retaliatory cyberattack that disabled Revolutionary Guard systems that control rocket and missile launches.

Jahromi tweeted that the West has attempted millions of cyberattacks against Iran’s military, but that none have been successful.

Trump said he canceled a retaliatory military strike minutes before it was to take place when military leaders told him about the potential for 150 Iranian deaths. Trump, however, secretly authorized U.S. Cyber Command to carry out the cyberattack, several officials told The Associated Press. All spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the operation.

Tensions have been mounting since Trump withdrew the U.S. from a global nuclear deal with Iran and began pressuring Tehran with economic sanctions. Pompeo will also head to Abu Dhabi to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who also has become wary of Iran’s increasingly aggressive military and increasing influence in the region.

On the eve of Pompeo’s visit to the kingdom, Yemen’s Iranian-allied rebels attacked a Saudi airport near the Saudi-Yemen border, killing a Syrian resident and wounding 21 other civilians, the Saudi military said.

Saudi Arabia has been at war with the rebel Houthis in Yemen for more than four years. The Houthis say the attacks targeting the kingdom are a response to relentless Saudi airstrikes on Yemen that have killed thousands.

Contributing: The Associated Press

More: Iran’s naval chief threatens to down more US drones

More: Trump vows more sanctions on Iran, says military action is still ‘on the table’

More: Bolton to Iran: Don’t mistake US ‘prudence’ for weakness

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