Monday, 21 October, 2019

Saudi oil attacks an Iranian 'act of war', says Pompeo

Still lots to sort out before any Rouhani Trump meeting France Still lots to sort out before any Rouhani Trump meeting France
Patty Aguilar | 20 September, 2019, 00:45

Asked by CNN what would be the outcome of a U.S. or Saudi strike, Zarif said: "All-out war".

Oil prices climbed on Thursday amid renewed concerns over risks to global supply in the wake of last weekend's attacks on Saudi Arabia's oil infrastructure.

The U.N. meeting had been considered as an opportunity for direct talks between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and President Donald Trump amid a summer of heightened tensions and attacks in the wake of America's unilateral withdrawal from Iran's nuclear deal with world powers a year ago.

The Trump administration and Saudi Arabia have clearly pointed the finger at Iran for the September 14 missile and drone raids, which hit the world's biggest crude oil processing facility and initially knocked out half of Saudi output.

The US believes last Saturday's attack on Saudi Arabia's oil facilities was launched from Iran, two US officials said, with one of them saying it originated in Iran's south-west. "We don't want to engage in a military confrontation", he said.

"If you're connected to a foreign terrorist organisation, I don't know", he added.

Iran's regional rival Saudi Arabia is leading a Sunni Arab coalition fighting the Houthis in the impoverished state on the tip of the Arabian peninsula - part of a regional proxy war between Tehran and Riyadh across the Middle East.

Iran's state-run news agency says its president, foreign minister may not go to the United Nations General Assembly as the US has yet to issue them visas.

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The trade war is not the only economic speed bump. "The news from overseas , by wide consensus, has been disappointing". In the USA , futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 were down 0.2% and 0.1%, respectively.

Saudi Arabia's defence ministry spokesman, Mr Turki al-Malki, said Iranian Delta Wing unmanned aerial vehicles were used in addition to cruise missiles. It is another when it actively sends seven cruise missiles and 18 drones into another country to blow up an oil facility that is responsible for production of 5% of the world's oil.

War drums have become louder since the attack. "And we'll see", Trump told reporters in Los Angeles.

"Inside Saudi Arabia, there is uncertainty over the most appropriate course of action".

The US formed the coalition after attacks on oil tankers that American officials blame on Iran, as well as Iran's seizure of tankers in the region. "We believe a military confrontation based on deception is terrible...it would have a lot of casualties." .

"Learn lessons from this warning and consider that there could be a war in the region", he said, in a likely address to the rulers of Saudi Arabia which has spent billions of dollars on U.S. weapons.

He also played surveillance video that he said showed a drone coming in from the north. Yemen is to the south of Saudi Arabia. France has been trying to find a diplomatic solution to the tensions between Iran and the USA, so any conclusion they draw could be used as a third-party assessment of what happened. "Is that their aim?"

Iran responded by scaling back its commitments under the landmark accord, which gave it the promise of sanctions relief in return for limiting the scope of its nuclear programme.

They include stringent sanctions that would gag Iran's economy, sending more American forces to the region and starting a cyber campaign to keep Tehran on notice. Zarif himself is also sanctioned.

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