President Donald Trump said Wednesday he's ordered new sanctions on Iran, the latest escalation in tensions between the two countries and one that follows the attack over the weekend on Saudi oil facilities that US officials have pinned on Iran.

"I have just instructed the Secretary of the Treasury to substantially increase Sanctions on the country of Iran!" Trump tweeted.

The President made the announcement as some Republican lawmakers have called for military strikes against Iran and Vice President Mike Pence has suggested a military response is possible.

But Trump, who campaigned on getting the US out of foreign entanglements, faces a battle for reelection that would be complicated by a new war. The sanctions announcement may signal his desire to avoid military conflict, analysts said.

"This is important because it appears to be Trump's effort to respond to the Iranian attack by sanctions measures and not by military steps," Henry Rome, an Iran analyst at the Eurasia Group, said about Trump's Tuesday tweet. "The way I look at it, this is the substitute for a military response, not the prelude to it."

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