Iran rejects US claim it was behind Saudi oil strikes, says ready for war – World

Iran dismissed the accusations of the United States that it was behind the attacks against Saudi oil plants that were at risk of disrupting the world's energy supply and warned on Sunday that US bases and aircraft carriers in the region were within reach of their missiles .

The Yemeni Houthi group claimed responsibility for Saturday's attacks that affected more than half of Saudi oil production or more than 5 percent of world supply, but the US secretary of state. UU. Mike Pompeo said the assault was the work of Iran, a Houthi ally.

Drone attacks at the plants in the heart of Saudi Arabia's oil industry, including the world's largest oil processing facility, were expected to raise oil prices between $ 5 and $ 10 per barrel on Monday to as tensions rise in the Middle East.

Iran's president, Hassan Rouhani, accused Washington of diverting the blame for the war in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia, an ally of the United States, leads a military coalition that has carried out air strikes regularly.

"Today, witness that innocents die every day in Yemen … the Americans, instead of blaming themselves, and confessing that their presence in the region is creating problems, they blame the countries of the region or the people from Yemen, "Rouhani said.

"If we want real security in the region, the solution is to stop the aggression of the United States," added the president of Iran, before leaving for Ankara to attend a trilateral meeting on Syria with Turkey and Russia.

“We believe that the problems of the region can be solved through talks in Yemen, Yemeni-Yemeni negotiations; They must decide for themselves. The bombing of the Yemeni people must stop, ”Rouhani said.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi, speaking on state television, dismissed the US accusation as "useless."

Mousavi said the US accusations about pre-dawn attacks against Abqaiq and Khurais in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia were intended to justify actions against Iran.

"Such comments … are more like intelligence conspiracies and secret organizations to damage a country's reputation and create a framework for future actions," he said.

A senior commander of the Revolutionary Guard warned that the Islamic Republic was ready for a "complete" war.

"Everyone should know that all US bases and their aircraft carriers at a distance of up to 2,000 kilometers around Iran are within the range of our missiles," said the semi-official. Tasnim The news agency quoted Commander Amirali Hajizadeh.

State oil giant Saudi Aramco said the attack reduced production by 5.7 million barrels per day, at a time when Aramco is trying to prepare for what is expected to be the world's largest stock sale.

Aramco did not give a schedule for the resumption of production, but said early on Sunday that it would give an update of progress in approximately 48 hours. A source close to the matter said Reuters The return to total oil capacity could take "weeks, not days."

Operators and analysts said oil could increase up to $ 100 if Riyadh fails to quickly recover the supply.

The kingdom, the world's leading oil exporter, sends more than 7 million barrels of oil to global destinations every day. Aramco told an Indian refinery that it would deliver crude from other sources and that it had adequate inventory, a source at the refinery said.

Riyadh said it would compensate for the loss by resorting to its stocks, which were 188 million barrels in June, according to official data. The United States said it was also ready to take advantage of emergency oil reserves if necessary.

The Saudi stock market closed 1.1pc with banking and petrochemical stocks that were the most affected. Saudi petrochemical companies announced a significant reduction in the supply of raw materials.

“Abqaiq is the nerve center of the Saudi energy system. Even if exports resume within the next 24-48 hours, the invulnerability image has changed, "said Helima Croft, global director of commodity strategy at RBC Capital Markets, Reuters.

& # 39; Unprecedented attack & # 39;

According to information from the US government. In the US, 15 structures in Abqaiq suffered damage to their west-northwest facing sides.

Pompeo said there was no evidence that the attack came from Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition has been fighting the Houthis for more than four years in a conflict widely seen as a power war between Saudi Arabia and the Shiite Muslim rival Iran.

"In the midst of all calls for scale reduction, Iran has launched an unprecedented attack on the world's energy supply," he said.

Riyadh accused Iran of being behind previous attacks on oil pumping stations and the Shaybah oil field, Tehran accused. He has not blamed any of the parties for Saturday's attack, but has linked him to a recent series of attacks against Saudi oil assets and crude oil tankers in Gulf waters.

Riyadh says Iran arms the Houthis, a charge both deny.

Some Iraqi media said the attack came from there, where Iran-backed paramilitary groups exercise increasing power. Iraq denied this on Sunday and promised to punish anyone who uses Iraq as a launching pad for the attacks.

Regional tensions have increased since Washington resigned from an international nuclear agreement and extended sanctions to Iran to drown its vital oil exports.

The European Union warned that Saturday's attack represents a real threat to regional security and France said such actions could only worsen the "risk of conflict." Iran's ally, Turkey, asked to avoid "provocative steps."

Conversations between the United States and Iran

The attack comes after US President Donald Trump said a meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was possible at the United Nations General Assembly in New York this month. Tehran ruled out the talks until sanctions are lifted.

White House adviser Kellyanne Conway did not rule out a possible meeting between the two, but told "Fox News Sunday" that the strikes "did not help" that perspective.

The Saudi de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, told Trump that Riyadh was willing and able to deal with "terrorist aggression."

A senior Emirati official said that the United Arab Emirates, Riyadh's main partner in the Western-backed military coalition in Yemen, would fully support Saudi Arabia as the attack "attacks us all."

The United Arab Emirates, concerned about the rise of Iran's tensions and Western criticism of the war, has reduced its presence in Yemen, leaving Riyadh to try to neutralize the Houthi threat along its border.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif said that Washington and its allies were "trapped in Yemen" and that blaming Tehran "will not end the disaster."

The conflict has been in a military stalemate for years. The alliance has air supremacy, but has been subject to scrutiny for civilian deaths and a humanitarian crisis that has left millions of people facing hunger. The Houthis, more experts in guerrilla warfare, have increased attacks on Saudi cities, frustrating peace efforts.



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