Sunday, September 15, 2019

Iran War Drums

Iran says it's ready for war with US after Saudi oil attack accusations
Tehran says US bases and aircraft carriers stationed up to 1,200 miles around Iran are within range of its missiles.

By Lucia Binding, news reporter

Sunday 15 September 2019 16:17, UK

Drone attacks targeted a major Saudi Aramco processing facility and oilfield in the kingdom's east

Iran has dismissed US accusations it was behind drone attacks on Saudi Arabia's oil plants, and warned it is ready for a "full-fledged" war.

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said Washington had adopted a "maximum pressure" strategy against Iran, but because of "its failure [the US] is leaning toward maximum lies".

His remarks came as a senior commander in Iran's Revolutionary Guards said America's military bases and aircraft carriers, which are stationed up to 1,243 miles around Iran, were within range of Iranian missiles.
Smoke is seen following a fire at an Aramco factory
Image: Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen have said they carried out the drone attacks on Saudi oil plants

Amirali Hajizadeh was also quoted by the Tasnim news agency as saying that Iran has always been ready for a "full-fledged" war, without mentioning Saturday's explosions in Saudi Arabia.

Saturday's drone attacks - which Yemen's Iranian-backed Houthi rebels claim they carried out - have halted around half of Saudi oil supplies after hitting the kingdom's biggest processing facility and a major oil field.

They set off huge fires, leading to a suspension of production operations at the Abqaiq facility and the Khurais field, about 200 miles northeast of the Saudi capital Riyadh.

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who has spoken to US secretary of state Mike Pompeo about the incident, called it an "egregious attack on the security of Saudi Arabia".

He wrote on Twitter: "This was a reckless attempt to damage regional security and disrupt global oil supplies. The UK condemns such behaviour unreservedly."

President Donald Trump called Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman following the attack, expressing US support for the kingdom's security and stability.

The crown prince assured Mr Trump that Saudi Arabia is "willing and able to confront and deal with this terrorist aggression".
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is pictured while meeting with the Tunisian President during his arrival at the presidential palace in Carthage on the eastern outskirts of the capital Tunis on November 27, 2018. (Photo by FETHI BELAID / AFP) (Photo credit should read FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images)
Image: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman says he is 'willing and able to confront and deal with this terrorist aggression'

Mr Pompeo described the attacks as "unprecedented" and pointed the finger at Tehran.

He wrote on Twitter: "Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia while [Iran's president and foreign minister] Rouhani and Zarif pretend to engage in diplomacy.

"Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world's energy supply."

In response, Iran's foreign minister said blaming Tehran for Houthi rebel attacks would not end the Yemen conflict.

Javad Zarif tweeted that having failed at "max pressure" Mr Pompeo was turning to "max deceit".

"US & its clients are stuck in Yemen because of illusion that weapon superiority will lead to military victory," he said.

"Blaming Iran won't end disaster. Accepting our April '15 proposal to end war & begin talks may."

While markets remain closed Sunday, the attack could shock world energy prices.

Saudi Arabia says 5.7 million barrels a day of oil production were lost, and the supply of ethane and natural gas was also cut by around half, according to preliminary estimates.

Saudi Aramco, the state-owned oil giant, told one Indian refinery there will be no immediate impact on oil supplies as it will deliver crude from other sources, said a source with the refinery.

White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said the US energy department was prepared to tap into the strategic petroleum reserve if needed to stabilise the global energy supply.

The Saudi minister said the attacks were aimed not only at Saudi Arabia, but also at the world's oil supply and its security.

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