Advertisement
  1. News
  2. /
  3. Nation & World

UK says Iran responsible for attack on Saudi oil facilities

Britain had previously held back from attributing blame for the drone and missile attack. Saudi Arabia and the United States say Iran was responsible, something Tehran denies.
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson walks to board his plane at London's Heathrow Airport as he heads off for the annual United Nations General Assembly in New York, Sunday Sept. 22, 2019. [STEFAN ROUSSEAU | AP]
Published Sep. 23

NEW YORK — Britain has concluded that Iran was responsible for attacks on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Sunday. He said the U.K. would consider taking part in a U.S.-led military effort to bolster the Gulf kingdom’s defenses, while Iran’s president announced plans for a rival Iranian-led security coalition.

The U.K. Conservative prime minister also said he would work with allies to “de-escalate” Middle East tensions that have soared since the Sept. 14 attack on the world’s largest oil processor and an oil field.

Britain had previously held back from attributing blame for the drone and missile attack. Saudi Arabia and the United States say Iran was responsible, something Tehran denies.

Johnson told reporters flying with him late Sunday to New York for the U.N. General Assembly that now "the U.K. is attributing responsibility with a very high degree of probability to Iran" for the attack by drones and cruise missiles.

RELATED: Iran diplomat warns of ‘all-out war’ if hit for Saudi attack

"We will be working with our American friends and our European friends to construct a response that tries to de-escalate tensions in the Gulf region," Johnson said.

Shortly before leaving for the U.N. meetings Monday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that his country will invite "all littoral states of the Persian Gulf" to join an Iranian-led coalition "to guarantee the region's security."

His remarks were broadcast on state television.

Rouhani said the plan — details of which he will present at the United Nations — is not limited to "security" but also encompasses economic cooperation and an initiative for "long-term" peace.

Iran's president had already called on Western powers Sunday to leave the security of the Persian Gulf to regional nations led by Tehran.

Johnson said he would meet Rouhani at this week’s high-level U.N. gathering. Johnson is also due to hold talks with U.S. President Donald Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and French President Emmanuel Macron. He said he wanted Britain to be “a bridge between our European friends and the Americans when it comes to the crisis in the Gulf.”

The U.S. and Europe have diverged sharply on how to deal with Iran. European nations, including Britain, still adhere to an international deal designed to limit Iran's nuclear ambitions, but Trump has pulled the U.S. out of the agreement.

Johnson stressed the need for a diplomatic response to the Gulf tensions but said Britain would consider any request for military help. The Trump administration announced Friday that it would send additional U.S. troops and missile defense equipment to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as part of a “defensive” deployment. Officials said the number of troops was likely to be in the hundreds.

"We will be following that very closely," Johnson said. "And clearly if we are asked, either by the Saudis or by the Americans, to have a role, then we will consider in what way we could be useful. We will consider in what way we could be useful, if asked, depending on what the exact plan is."

A U.K. official told The Associated Press that a claim of responsibility for the attacks by Iran-allied Houthi rebels in Yemen was "implausible." He said remnants of Iran-made cruise missiles were found at the attack site, and "the sophistication points very, very firmly to Iranian involvement." He spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence findings.

The official did not say whether Britain believed the attack was launched from Iranian soil.

Iran denies responsibility and has warned any retaliatory attack targeting it will result in an "all-out war."

On Monday, Rouhani said the U.S. was exaggerating the scale of damage wrought by the attacks on Saudi Arabia's oil company and using it as an excuse to send more troops and equipment to the kingdom.

"It is clear that they would like to completely take hold of eastern Saudi Arabia's oil," he said.

Rouhani also referred to a new round of U.S. sanctions on Iran's central bank and other financial bodies as a "repeat cassette tape."

Many of the sanctions had applied before Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers promised to lift them, in exchange for curbing the country's atomic program.

“This means the U.S. is completely desperate,” he said, suggesting the U.S. had little leverage left over Iran.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. FILE - This June 2, 2017, file image made from video shows the Trump National Doral in Doral, Fla. President Donald Trump said on Twitter on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019, he is reversing his plan to hold the next Group of Seven world leaders' meeting at his Doral, Florida, golf resort. (AP Photo/Alex Sanz, File) ALEX SANZ  |  AP
    The chief of staff called Trump’s sudden change of course — announced by the president on Twitter Saturday evening — “the right decision.”
  2. An Army carry team transfers the remains of Staff Sgt. Aaron R. Butler at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Friday. Butler died Wednesday of injuries sustained from an IED in Afghanistan.
    The soldiers were with the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team and were in a Bradley fighting vehicle. They were not immediately identified.
  3. Move over, Honeycrisp: New apple to debut at grocery stores
  4. Brooklyn-based product design company MSCHF retrofitted a dozen Nike Air Max 97 shoes with holy water injected into the bubble soles to create its "Jesus Shoes". YouTube
    Brooklyn-based product design company MSCHF retrofitted a dozen Nike Air Max 97 shoes and injected holy water into the soles.
  5. Oil Sands mining operations at the Syncrude Canada Oil Sands project near Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, on June 13, 2017. (Photo by Larry MacDougal, © Imago via ZUMA Press) IMAGO  |  ZUMAPRESS.com
    The New York attorney general says Exxon used two sets of books and misled investors by downplaying the potential costs of carbon emissions.
  6. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks as Vice President Mike Pence listens during a news conference at the U.S. ambassador's residence in Ankara, Turkey, Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019. The U.S. and Turkey agreed to a five-day cease-fire in the Turks' attacks on Kurdish fighters in northern Syria to allow the Kurds to withdraw to roughly 20 miles away from the Turkish border. The arrangement appeared to be a significant embrace of Turkey's position in the weeklong conflict. BURHAN OZBILICI  |  AP
    Thursday’s deal called for a five-day pause in fighting between Turkish and Kurdish fighters and put a temporary halt to the battle along the Syrian border.
  7. President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at American Airlines Arena in Dallas, Texas, Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019. ANDREW HARNIK  |  AP
    “Don’t kid yourselves,” he said of the Democrats, “I really don’t believe anymore that they love our country.”
  8. FILE - This June 2, 2017 file frame from video shows the Trump National Doral in Doral, Fla. The White House says it has chosen President Donald Trump's golf resort in Miami as the site for next year's Group of Seven summit. ALEX SANZ  |  AP
    The G-7 summit will be held from June 10 to 12. The idea of holding the event at Trump’s resort has been criticized by government ethics watchdogs.
  9. US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, arrives for a joint interview with the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and House Committee on Oversight and Reform on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019. PABLO MARTINEZ MONSIVAIS  |  AP
    Sondland said he was disappointed Trump instructed him to work with Giuliani, a directive that sidestepped the role of the State Department and National Security Council.
  10. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., listens while speaking with reporters after a meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019, in Washington. ALEX BRANDON  |  AP
    President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi chalked up the latest explosive meeting that ended abruptly with a walkout at the White House.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement