Friday, 22 November, 2019

Iran dismisses USA allegation it behind Saudi oil attacks

Smoke is seen following a fire at an Aramco factory in Abqaiq Saudi Arabia Saudi halts production at attacked oil plants: minister
Patty Aguilar | 17 September, 2019, 01:53

Iran's Foreign Ministry has dismissed the USA accusation that it was behind an attack on Saudi Arabia's oil infrastructure the day before, calling it part of Washington's policy of "maximum lies".

If the rebels were responsible for the attacks, their drones would have had to fly hundreds of miles from Yemen into central Saudi Arabia.

"Tehran is behind almost 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia while Rouhani and Zarif pretend to engage in diplomacy", the USA state secretary said in his Twitter account.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says Iran is responsible for the attacks and wrote on Twitter that there is "no evidence the attacks came from Yemen".

He also said the attack caused a halt in production of associated petroleum gas (APG) which is almost two billion barrels per day. Khurais contains the country's second-largest oilfield, a Reuters report said. "Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world's energy supply", Pompeo said.

However, the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) played down the impact of the production cut, which equals 5% of global oil supply.

The statement said the company is now working on restoring the lost quantities, and will present updated information within the next 48 hours. The crown prince assured Trump that Saudi Arabia is "willing and able to confront and deal with this terrorist aggression", according to a news release from the Saudi Embassy in Washington.

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The UN's Yemen envoy Martin Griffiths said he was "extremely concerned" over the latest attacks, which also drew swift condemnation from Riyadh's Gulf allies, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Kuwait.

In recent months, Houthi rebels have carried out a spate of cross-border missile and drone attacks targeting Saudi air bases and other facilities in what they say is retaliation for a long-running Riyadh-led bombing campaign on rebel-held areas in Yemen.

Iran today dismissed as "meaningless" U.S. accusations it was behind drone attacks on Saudi oil installations, suggesting Washington was seeking a pretext to retaliate against the Islamic republic.

Saudi security forces foiled an attempt by al-Qaeda to attack the Abqaiq facility with suicide bombers in 2006.

The two bombers also died in the attack, which failed to breach the compound, authorities reported at the time. The Rapidan Energy Group, a Washington-based advisory group, warned in May that "a successful attack could lead to a monthslong disruption of most Saudi production and almost all spare production".

The United States and Saudi Arabia have blamed Tehran for multiple attacks on tankers in the Gulf, and in June, Trump called off air strikes against Iran at the last minute after it downed a USA drone. "KSA has the capacity to face this type of aggression", the Saudi crown prince replied to Trump.

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