Tehran (KNA) - President Donald Trump says the United States would be “punishing itself” if it halted weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, as pressure mounts on him to take action over the suspected murder of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul.
“I actually think we’d be punishing ourselves if we did that,” Trump told reporters on Saturday at the White House, adding, “There are other things we can do that are very, very powerful, very strong and we’ll do them.”
Khashoggi, a prominent critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and a US resident, disappeared on October 2 after visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Turkish authorities believe he was tortured and killed inside the building by a team of Saudi operatives who removed his dismembered body.
Trump, who has forged close ties with Saudi Arabia, has come under pressure at home and abroad to punish Riyadh if investigations show the regime had Khashoggi killed.
Trump did not say what measures his administration would take if Saudi Arabia is found to be responsible, but he made clear any punishment would not involve suspending the arms deals.