Saudi Arabia Shows Attack Site Damage as Iran Pledges Tough Defense

Saudi Arabia on Friday took media to inspect oil facilities hit by attacks that Washington and Riyadh blame on Iran, showing melted pipes and burnt equipment, as Tehran vowed wide retaliation if tensions raised by the strikes boil over into hostilities.

The kingdom sees the Sept 14 strikes on its Khurais and Abqaiq facilities — the worst attack on Gulf oil infrastructure since Iraq’s Saddam Hussein torched Kuwaiti oilfields in 1991 — as a test of global will to preserve international order.

Iran denies involvement in the attack, which initially halved oil output from Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest petroleum exporter. Responsibility was claimed by Yemen’s Houthi movement, an Iran-aligned group fighting a Saudi-led alliance in Yemen’s four-year-old conflict.

At Khurais, Reuters reporters were shown repair work under way, with cranes erected around two burnt-out stabilization columns, which form part of oil-gas separation units, and melted pipes.

“We are working 24/7,” one executive of state oil giant Saudi Aramco said, adding that Aramco was confident full production at Khurais would resume by the end of September.

The attacks intensified a years-long struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran, who are locked in a sometimes violent contest for influence in several flashpoints around the Middle East.

Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir said on Thursday the attacks were an “extension of the Iranian regime’s hostile and outlawed behavior”.

Iran has warned U.S. President Donald Trump against being dragged into a war in the Middle East and said it would meet any offensive action with a crushing response.

Tehran amplified that message on Friday when a senior Revolutionary Guards commander said Iran would respond from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean against any U.S. plots.

COALITION

“If the Americans think of any plots, the Iranian nation will respond from the Mediterranean, to the Red Sea and to the Indian Ocean,” said General Yahya Rahim-Safavi, a senior adviser to Iran’s supreme leader, state news agency IRNA reported.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had called the attacks an “act of war” but on Thursday he said Trump, who has ordered more sanctions on Iran, wants a peaceful solution to the crisis.

“We are here to build out a coalition aimed at achieving peace and a peaceful resolution. That’s my mission, that’s what President Trump certainly wants me to work to achieve and I hope that the Islamic Republic of Iran sees it that way,” Pompeo said.

Iran’s foreign minister on Friday questioned Pompeo’s remarks and listed repeated Iranian diplomatic initiatives.

“Coalition for Peaceful Resolution?,” Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a statement on Twitter, and listed eight diplomatic initiatives by Iran since 1985, including a peace plan for Yemen in 2015.

Oil prices, which soared following the attack, steadied after Saudi Arabia pledged to restore full oil production by the end of September.

Kuwait said it had raised the security alert level at all of its ports, including the oil terminals, state-run media said, citing a decision by the trade and industry minister.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov urged all countries in the Gulf to sit down for talks to defuse tensions and said groundless accusations against Iran over the attacks were inflaming tensions, Interfax news agency reported.

The Yemeni Houthi movement on Friday accused the Saudi-led coalition of a dangerous escalation of the situation around Hodeidah, after coalition forces attacked targets north of the port city.

The actions threatened a U.N.-brokered ceasefire accord in the Red Sea port, Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdul-Salam said.

(Editing by Maher Chmaytelli and William Maclean)

Responses

  1. Thank God the US is now one of the biggest oil and NG exporters in the world. Let western Europe and Saudi Arabia sort out this problem with Iran. They’re the ones who need the Strait of Hormuz open – not us.

  2. Breaking news is that the US will send troops to S. A.

    The last time that happened, it energized ISIS and it was used as a pretext for the 9/11 attacks.

  3. “They got you into this mess.” Phyllis

    I think you are confused.

    It is we, the American voters, who go us in this mess by electing a lunatic into the WH. He said specific things about Iran that were shots across our bow and we STILL elected him. That’s on us!

    Then, after mounting his golden throne, he unleashed Iran by reneging on the nuclear agreement. Not the brightest bulb in the chandelier.

  4. Brad:

    1) everyone understood that it was THEIR OWN sanctioned money
    2) everyone understood that the agreement was working as intended, before the US reneged on it

    King Donald The Loser didn’t care.

    Maybe you didn’t get the memos.

    1. Join the discussion…Only part of that money was theirs. Several billion was given to them as a bribe asshole. Stop with the lying. Yea it was working as intended. Iran was still working toward a nuclear weapon unabated. The agreement allowed them to do it. You demonrats prove each and every day how anti-American you really are.

  5. Iran must forget it’s like a flea on the ball sack of America making these wild statements like they are Russia or China. I wonder if they comprehend we could send one or two of our non nuclear yet just as destructive in yield bombs and Iran would cease to exist the entire country. They should drop to their knees and pray as hard as they can to Allah we aren’t the same type of people they are or we would have wiped them from existence decades ago. I say we cut all ties with the middle East they have been chopping off each other’s heads, and stoning women to death for showing their kneecaps or speaking out of turn then since the dawn of time. Let them continue the constant killing of each other for slight differences and we should have moved from fossil fuels or gasoline for twenty years at least. The fact it’s been shown without a doubt to be a finite resource we will definitely burn through before it’s remotely close to replenished should have been all was needed to move on to ethanol or electric or modified water engines. Even a car that combines water and electricity basically a tiny hydroelectric generator anything really, but to trudge along pretending gasoline is the Pinnacle of energy production with our technology is farcical.

  6. Saudi Arabia was attacked by Iran. Isn’t that an act of war by Iran? President Trump seems to be the only adult in the room by not ordering US forces to get involved in another war in the Middle East. It’s Saudi Arabia’s problem to solve not the USs’

  7. Worst case—Iran bombs Saudi facilities again, demand for oil from the rest of the world increases —reversing a continuing slide in drilling activity in the USA.

  8. The middle east is continually in turmoil and has been since the beginning of creation. This will continue until the return of Christ.

  9. If Saudi Arabia can not defend their oil wells, MBS & Trump must realize a need to increase Saudi defense systems before taking on Iran. Thank you, to Trump for keeping the hawks in check. They got you into this mess.

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