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Media captionAbqaiq is the positioning of Aramco’s largest oil processing plant
Iran has accused the US of “deceit” after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo mentioned Tehran was behind damaging drone assaults on two Saudi oil services.
Mr Pompeo had rejected claims by Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels that they’d carried out the assaults.
Iran’s Overseas Minister Javad Zarif mentioned that “blaming Iran will not finish the catastrophe” in Yemen.
Saudi Arabia mentioned Saturday’s strikes had halved its crude oil manufacturing to five.7 million barrels a day.
All eyes might be on the markets once they reopen on Monday, with specialists anticipating a big rise in worth.
Since ousting Yemen’s president in 2015, the Houthis have been combating a Saudi-led and Western-backed coalition.
They mentioned they’d deployed 10 drones to assault the Abqaiq processing plant and the Khurais oilfield early on Saturday.
However Mr Pompeo mentioned there was “no proof” the drones got here from Yemen and as an alternative accused Iran.
The US has blamed Iran for different assaults on oil provides within the area this 12 months, amid persevering with pressure following President Donald Trump’s choice to reinstate sanctions after abandoning the landmark worldwide deal which restricted Tehran’s nuclear actions.
What has Iran mentioned in regards to the US accusations?
Mr Zarif took to Twitter to deride the US secretary of state, saying that “having failed at max strain, Sec Pompeo’s turning to max deceit”.
He was referring to the Trump administration’s acknowledged “most strain marketing campaign” which has focused Iran with sanctions.
Mr Zarif mentioned the US and its allies have been “caught in Yemen due to the phantasm that weapon superiority will result in navy victory”.
What’s behind Mr Pompeo’s claims?
The US secretary of state gave no particular proof to again up his accusations, merely saying: “We name on all nations to publicly and unequivocally condemn Iran’s assaults.”
The US would work with its allies to make sure “Iran is held accountable for its aggression”, he mentioned.
The US has beforehand accused Iran of assaults on two oil tankers within the Gulf in June and July, in addition to on one other 4 in Might. Tehran rejected the allegations in each instances.
Gulf of Oman tanker assaults: What we all know
Iran-US tensions: What is going on on?
If the Houthi rebels had deployed the drones from Yemen, they must have flown them a whole lot of miles.
Nonetheless, one ingredient of the Houthi assertion on the assaults did thank “co-operation with the honourable individuals inside the dominion”.
The space from the closest level on the Yemen border to the closest goal, the Khurais oilfield, is about 770km, effectively past the vary of the traditional Houthi assault drone, the Qatef-1.
Nonetheless, UN investigators have highlighted the existence of a brand new Houthi drone, the UAV-X, which may attain as much as 1,500km.
The Wall Road Journal has mentioned specialists are additionally investigating whether or not the assaults may have been carried out from the north – both by Iran or its Shia allies in Iraq – utilizing cruise missiles relatively than drones. If that’s the case, it appears unlikely they’d have escaped detection.
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Media captionThe BBC’s Frank Gardner appears on the proof the US says proves Iran’s involvement in assaults on two tankers in June
On Sunday, Iraq’s Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi denied “what’s circulated on social media networks that its territory was used to assault Saudi oil services with drones”.
The Washington Submit newspaper mentioned the US authorities believed that 15 buildings at Abqaiq had been broken on the west-northwest sides, not the southern sides dealing with Yemen.
What’s Saudi Arabia doing about provides?
The Saudis haven’t gone into any element in regards to the assaults, barring saying there have been no casualties, however have given a number of extra indications about oil manufacturing.
Power Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman mentioned a number of the fall in manufacturing can be made up by tapping big storage services.
Consultants say these may very well be used for a number of weeks, though that will effectively even be the time it takes to get manufacturing again to regular.
The Tadawul All-Shares Index misplaced 200 factors – about three% – when it opened on Sunday, however had checked the autumn to a couple of 1% loss by mid-afternoon.
Why would the Houthis assault Saudi Arabia?
Yemen has been at conflict since 2015, when President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi was compelled to flee the capital Sanaa by the Houthis. Saudi Arabia backs President Hadi, and has led a coalition of regional international locations towards the rebels.
The coalition launches air strikes nearly day-after-day, whereas the Houthis usually hearth missiles into Saudi Arabia.
Houthi navy spokesman Yahya Sarea mentioned on Saturday that operations towards Saudi targets would “solely develop wider and might be extra painful than earlier than, as long as their aggression and blockade continues”.
He mentioned Saturday’s assault was one of many greatest operations the Houthi forces had undertaken inside Saudi Arabia.