Iran rejects US allegations over Saudi drone attack

Smoke is seen following a fire at an Aramco factory in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia, September 14, 2019 in this picture obtained from social media. VIDEOS OBTAINED BY REUTERS/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES.

Iran rejects US allegations over Saudi drone attack

Tehran: Iran on Sunday rejected US allegations that Tehran had carried out the drone attack at an oil field in Saudi Arabia, saying that Washington’s maximum pressure strategy has turned into a strategy of “maximum lie” against the Islamic Republic.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi made the remarks in reaction to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s tweets where he said that “Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia while (President Hassan) Rouhani and (Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad) 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”, the state-run IRNA news agency reported.

Mousavi said that it was about five years that the Saudi-led coalition has waged a full-scale war on Yemen by repeated aggression and committing atrocity crimes against the civilians.

“Such accusations and blind statements are meaningless and incomprehensible in diplomatic standards,” he noted.

The spokesman added that such allegations would “tarnish the image of a country aiming preparatory works for future actions”.

The attack on Saturday, which was carried out by 10 unmanned aircraft, hit Hijra Khurais – one of Saudi Arabia’s largest oil fields, producing about 1.5 million barrels a day – and Abqaiq, the world’s biggest crude stabilization facility, which processes seven million barrels of Saudi oil a day, or about 8 per cent of the world’s total output, Efe news reported.

It has disrupted about half of the Kingdom’s oil capacity, or 5 per cent of the daily global oil supply.

Although the Yemeni Houthi rebels have claimed responsibility for the attack, Pompeo has denied, saying: “There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.”

Around 20 hours after the incident, the newly-appointed Saudi Minister of Energy, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, was forced to publicly acknowledge that the state energy company Aramco – the world’s largest oil producer – had stopped the production of some 5.7 million barrels of crude, about half of its total output.

The production at the plants have also been temporarily halted.

Aramco said it was still assessing the damages and would offer more information of their scope over the next 48 hours.