Fallout grows as Iran blamed for attacks on Saudi oil facilities

World Today

Storage tanks are seen at the North Jiddah bulk plant, an Aramco oil facility, in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019. The weekend drone attack in Buqyaq on one of the world’s largest crude oil processing plants that dramatically cut into global oil supplies is the most visible sign yet of how Aramco’s stability and security is directly linked to that of its owner — the Saudi government and its ruling family. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

The fallout is growing from this weekend’s attack on two oil facilities in Saudi Arabia.

The United States and Saudi Arabia accuse Iran of orchestrating the strikes, something Tehran denies. It’s caused the biggest surge in crude oil prices since the Gulf War in 1991. CGTN’s White House correspondent Nathan King reports.

Whoever carried out this attack it was on scale not seen in recent memory.

Nearly 6,000,000 barrels of oil a day suddenly cut from global supply. That’s nearly half of Saudi Arabia’s daily output.

U.S. satellite images show around 19 points of impact-drones and missiles used with a degree of accuracy that, according to Washington, indicates Tehran is the likely culprit.

U.S. President Donald Trump said: “Well, it’s looking that way. We have some very strong studies done, but it’s certainly looking that way at this moment. And we’ll let you know as soon as we know definitively.”

Trump said he doesn’t want war with Iran but added that the U.S. has military superiority over Tehran.

Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, is dismissing claims of responsibility from the Houthi rebels that Riyadh has been fighting for over four years in Yemen.

According to the Saudi military and coalition spokesman Colonel Turki Al-Maliki, “The weapons that were used in the terrorist attack — whether it be in Abqaiq or Khurais — initial evidence shows that these weapons are Iranian weapons and we are investigating this. And, we will announce the findings. Initial findings show that the terrorist attack did not originate from Yemeni territories as claimed by the Houthi militia.”

Before these attacks over the weekend, there had been a lot of talk that perhaps U.S. President Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani would meet at the UN General assembly in New York. That’s now seen as highly unlikely.

Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei said, “We will never negotiate under sanctions again. If Trump considers talks necessary, he should take confidence-building measures and show respect.”

Many analysts like Negar Mortazavi say hope for a reduction in tensions now depends on the Europeans, particularly a French initiative to try and keep Iran from further violating the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the nuclear deal that the U.S. has already dumped. Mortazavi adds that, “It’s very important for all of Europe to save the nuclear deal with Iran. And, also, the Iranians seem to be determined to stay within the JCPOA if they get that kind of economic benefit.”

War or words is the choice both Washington and Tehran face right now. If Washington provides evidence of Iran’s involvement in these attacks, then the pressure to act will only increase. Iran, meanwhile, is rhetorically — and perhaps in reality — showing it, too, can ratchet up the pressure.