US President Donald Trump issued a new threat to Tehran on Sunday May 19th, that a conflict would be the "official end" of Iran, Reuters has reported.
The ominous warning to Iran come a day after Saudi Arabia warned it stood ready to respond with "all strength" and said it was up to Iran to avoid war.
The heightened rhetoric follows last week's attacks on Saudi oil assets and the firing of a rocket into Baghdad's heavily fortified "Green Zone" on Sunday, home to government buildings and close to US embassy.
Trump tweeted without elaborating: "If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!".
Riyadh, which emphasized that it does not want a war, has accused Tehran of ordering Tuesday's drone strikes on two oil pumping stations in the kingdom, claimed by Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi Militias. Two days earlier, four vessels, including two Saudi oil tankers, were sabotaged near the UAE commercial water.
In response, countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) began "enhanced security patrols" in the international waters of the Arabian Gulf area on Saturday, the US Navy's Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet said on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the US navy has announced that it had conducted exercises in the Arabian Sea with an aircraft carrier strike group ordered to the Arabian Gulf to counter an alleged, unspecified threat from Iran, as reported by AP.
The latest developments come as Washington and Iran spar over sanctions and the US military presence in the region, raising concerns about a potential US-Iran conflict.
"The kingdom of Saudi Arabia does not want a war in the region nor does it seek that," Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir told a news conference on Sunday.
"It will do what it can to prevent this war and at the same time it reaffirms that in the event the other side chooses war, the kingdom will respond with all force and determination, and it will defend itself and its interests."
Saudi Arabia's King Salman on Sunday invited Gulf and Arab leaders to convene emergency summits in Mecca on May 30 to discuss implications of the attacks.
"The current critical circumstances entail a unified Arab and Gulf stance toward the besetting challenges and risks," the UAE foreign ministry said in a statement.
The US Navy's Fifth Fleet said in its statement about increased maritime patrols that GCC countries were "specifically increasing communication and coordination with each other in support of regional naval cooperation and maritime security operations in the Arabian Gulf," with navies and coast guards working with the US Navy.