Saudi Arabia alleges Iranian weapons behind oil site attacks

Friday, 20 Sep, 2019

Iran's top diplomat said Thursday that any attack on his country over a drone-and-missile strike on Saudi Arabia's oil industry will result in "all-out war", further pushing up tensions across the Persian Gulf.

In a post on his Twitter account on Wednesday, Zarif took a swipe at US President Donald Trump for escalating an "economic WAR on Iranians" and for ordering his secretary of treasury to "substantially increase sanctions against the COUNTRY of Iran".

Pompeo, who is traveling to meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to discuss the recent attack, said the intelligence community has "high confidence" that the Houthis did not possess weapons similar to the ones used in the attacks, leading them to determine the attacks had not originated from Yemen.

Asked about what the "ultimate option" means, Trump said "war".

"They (U.S. and Saudi Arabia) have realized that playing with the tail of a lion is highly unsafe and that if they take action against Iran at any time, they know there will be no tomorrow for them in the region", Fars quoted Hossein Dehghan as saying.

Le Drian linked the timing of the strikes to subsequent week's UN Normal Meeting in NY, the place a gathering between US President Donald Trump and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani had been mooted.

Iran has backed Huthi claims of being behind the attack, and Rouhani said on September 18 it was a rebel "warning" about a possible wider war in response to the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia's oil production will be fully restored within the next few weeks despite the attacks on oil sites over the weekend, according to its government.

He also played surveillance video that he said showed a drone coming in from the north. Yemen is to the south of Saudi Arabia.

United States military planners weighing retaliation have reportedly forwarded a list of Iranian targets including the Abadan oil refinery, one of the world's largest, or Khark Island, the country's biggest oil export facility, the New York Times reported.

Iran, which supports the Houthi group, has denied any involvement in the attacks and insists it was a Houthi retaliation against Saudi bombings of Yemen.

President Donald Trump is believed to have asked the Pentagon for possible retaliation against Iran over the attack, and tweeted that the USA was "locked and loaded".

He added that Iran does not want conflict in the region, but it was the Saudi-led coalition that "waged the war in the region and ruined Yemen".

He had arrived in Jeddah on Wednesday for talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense.

Meanwhile, the state-run Saudi Press Agency carried a statement Wednesday saying the kingdom had joined a US -led naval coalition to secure the Mideast's waterways.

United Nations officials monitoring sanctions on Iran and Yemen are also helping probe the attack.

"If they lift the sanctions that they reimposed illegally, then that's a different situation", said Zarif.

That's a mission already joined by Australia, Bahrain and the United Kingdom.

Iran's foreign minister has warned of "all-out war" in the event of U.S. or Saudi military strikes against his country, and questioned whether Saudi Arabia was prepared to fight "to the last American soldier".

"We have set about a course of action to deny Iran the capacity and the wealth so that they can conduct their terrorist-to prevent them from conducting their terror campaigns", he said.

Iran's Zarif accused Pompeo of trying to "dodge a USA obligation" to issue visas for Iran's United Nations delegates.

Eighteen drones and seven cruise missiles were launched in the assault, Al-Malki said, with three missiles failing to hit their targets.

Judith Miller, Adjunct Fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, Pulitzer-winning journalist and Fox News contributor said that the Saudis know that they are not able to defeat Iran in a full-blown conflict.