Iran officially warns U.S. against accusations of attack on Saudi Aramco

Saudi defence ministry spokesman Colonel Turki bin Saleh al Malki shows pieces of what he said were Iranian cruise missiles and drones recovered from the attack site that targeted Saudi Aramco's facilities 18 September 2019

White House orders Pentagon to offer options as Aramco attack fallout escalates

Iran's economy is already under severe pressure from existing sanctions, though analysts said there were still a number of potential targets for restrictions, including some in the construction sector, additional companies on the Tehran stock exchange and foundations controlled by the regime or Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme, Dr Fox said he believed it was becoming increasingly clear that Iran is to blame for the attacks.

After enduring a crippling Saudi air campaign since 2015, the Houthis definitely have a motive.

American president Donald Trump has pulled the United States out of the nuclear agreement, but Britain has remained in the pact. In 2006, al-Qaeda attempted a failed suicide attack on Abqaiq with explosive-laden vehicles.

The strikes took out half its output, some 6% of global oil production. The Houthis claimed responsibility for this attack.

On 16 October 1987, a Chinese-made Silkworm missile hit a Kuwaiti oil tanker under U.S. protection. "The Saudis were the nation that were attacked. We'll see what happens".

The Houthis certainly have a motive for the latest attacks.

As al-Malki sought to provide that proof, he said the drones and cruise missiles used against Saudi Arabia had originally come from Iran. The drone flew more than 800km into Saudi territory. He stopped short of saying the launch location was in Iran. "It was an assault to the worldwide community - an elaborate attempt to disrupt the global economy and the energy industry". A Saudi official also said plans for the listing of the country's oil giant, Aramco, would continue "as is".

Saudi Arabia's energy minister said Tuesday that 50% of its daily crude oil production that was knocked out by a weekend attack had been restored and that full production is expected by the end of the month. That means oil prices would rise because of worries about more unrest hurting supply.

Earlier this week Saudi Arabia announced it would join the International Maritime Security Construct operating in the Strait of Hormuz - of which the U.S. and Australia are members, in order to support peaceful trade - after high profile stoushes with British tankers in the region. But while major U.S. oil firms would reap windfall profits, if rising oil prices spur a recession, it will hurt Trump's chances for re-election. 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 Pentagon is preparing a report on who was responsible and intends to make it public within 48 hours, a US defense official said Tuesday.

The Russian president is expected later this year to travel to Saudi Arabia, a traditional USA ally in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia has rushed to restore capacity to its oil infrastructure, pledging to fulfill orders despite the attacks. Kono added that, despite "parties such as the USA media claiming that Iran was involved", the government hasn't confirmed Tehran's involvement either.

United States media, citing unnamed U.S. officials, reported on Tuesday that evidence shows Saturday's attacks originated in southwestern Iran.

President Trump said Wednesday that he had directed the U.S. Treasury to "substantially increase" sanctions on Iran amid tensions over attacks on major Saudi Arabian oil facilities.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

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