Germany, UK, France blame Iran for Saudi oil attacks

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Iran was responsible for the attacks on two Saudi oil facilities earlier this month, leaders from the United Kingdom, France and Germany have said in a joint statement at the United Nations.

The drone attacks, carried out on September 14, targeted facilities in Abqaiq – home to the company’s largest oil-processing plant – and Khurais.

French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and German Chancellor Angela Merkel met on Monday during the annual United Nations gathering of world leaders to coordinate their strategy on Iran.

“It is clear for us that Iran bears responsibility for this attack. There is no other plausible explanation,” the three leaders said in the joint statement released by France.

The three countries said they remained committed to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, but demanded that Tehran return to full compliance after reneging on some of its commitments.

“We are committed to continuing our diplomatic efforts to create conditions and facilitate dialogue with all relevant partners interested in de-escalation of tensions in the Middle East.

“The time has come for Iran to accept a long term negotiation framework for its nuclear programme, as well as regional security issues, which include its missile programmes.”

Tensions in the Middle East surged following the attacks which knocked out more than half of the output from the world’s top exporter – five percent of the global oil supply – or about 5.7 million barrels per day.

Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the attacks. But US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo swiftly accused Iran, which rejected the allegations were meant to justify “actions” against it.

Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, promised to “confront and deal with this terrorist aggression” before saying the attacks were “unquestionably sponsored by Iran”.

US President Donald Trump hinted at possible military action.

On Monday, Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said a military attack would have completely knocked out Saudi’s Arabia’s main oil-producing facility, again denying accusations that his country was behind the oil attacks.

“If Iran was behind this attack, nothing would be left of this refinery,” Zarif told reporters in New York.

Zarif also said he had no reason to believe Yemen’s Houthi rebels were lying when they claimed responsibility for the attack on key Saudi oil facilities. He called it a “high-precision, low-impact” assault with no casualties.

SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/09/france-germany-britain-leaders-iran-saudi-oil-attack-190923201421030.html

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