Saturday, 22 February, 2020

Weapons in Saudi attack similar to Iranian ones

Journalists film what Saudi military said was evidence of Iranian weaponry used in the attack targeted Saudi Aramco's facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais. — AP  File White House orders Pentagon to offer options as Aramco attack fallout escalates
Irene Mckinney | 19 September, 2019, 00:44

Saudi Arabia's defence ministry has shown off what it says is wreckage of drones and cruise missiles that proves Iranian involvement in weekend attacks on two oil facilities. Tehran has said its delegation could call off a trip to NY if the USA does not issue visas for his delegation "in the next few hours", Iran's state-run ISNA news reported Wednesday afternoon.

The location where the cruise missile fell harmlessly to the ground, north of its intended target, also suggests it came from the north, said Sim Tack, an analyst at the Texas-based private intelligence firm Stratfor.

Asked whether Paris considered the Saudi and USA analysis that Iran was behind the attack to be credible, the spokesperson responded: "We share the desire to carefully establish the facts before making any reaction".

Iran's warning, sent via the Swiss Embassy in Tehran, which handles USA affairs in the country, condemned earlier remarks by Pompeo and other officials linking Iran to the attacks.

Among the debris was what was said to be a delta wing of an Iranian UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle).

"I have just instructed the Secretary of the Treasury to substantially increase Sanctions on the country of Iran!" he tweeted Wednesday.

The Houthis have repeatedly launched rockets, missiles and drones at populated areas in Saudi Arabia.

More than 91,000 people have been killed in Yemen's war since 2015, according to the Armed Conflict Location and Even Data Project.

Twenty-five pilotless aircraft and cruise missiles were used to attack the two sites, Maliki told reporters gathered in Riyadh.

U.S. efforts to bring about a UN Security Council response looked unlikely to succeed as Russian Federation and China have veto powers and were expected to shield Iran.

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A senior U.S. official called for a UN Security Council response to the attacks, although success is unlikely because diplomats say Russian Federation and China - who have veto powers are likely to shield Iran.

Trump's administration is considering responses to the latest attack, including a cyber attack or a physical strike on Iranian oil infrastructure or its Revolutionary Guards, NBC News reported, citing unnamed United States officials.

The new stage of the long-running US-Iranian standoff has raised speculation over whether it will lead to conflict.

Saudi Arabia provides 10 percent of the world's oil supplies, at 7.4 million barrels per day, and the latest attack halved its production.

"This is the kind of weapon the Iranian regime and the Iranian IRGC are using against the civilian object and facilities infrastructure", he said, using an acronym for Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo walks after stepping off his plane upon arrival at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

While Trump initially said the "locked and loaded" to respond, he has since signalled that he isn't eager for another Middle East conflict.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaking during the cabinet meeting in Tehran.

Those tensions have been boiling since Trump pulled the U.S. out of Iran's 2015 agreement with world powers that curtailed Iranian nuclear activities and the United States reimposed sanctions that sent Iran's economy into freefall.

The apparent hardening of the U.S. position came as Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ruled out negotiations with Washington "at any level". Saying the Houthis were responsible for the drone strikes, he said: "They attacked an industrial center to warn you".