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US ATTEMPTS to blame Iran for a Houthi attack on Saudi oil installations on Saturday were dismissed by both Iran and the Houthis today.
A drone attack on the world’s largest oil processing facility and a major oilfield on Saturday sparked huge fires and halved Saudi Arabia’s production of crude oil — with this likely to affect oil prices when markets open today.
The successful strike is a humiliation for Saudi Arabia, which has been waging a brutal war on the Houthis in Yemen for four years without significantly affecting the territory they control.
This is despite killing tens of thousands of civilians in bombing raids on schools, hospitals and residential areas.
Saudi Arabia has also imposed a blockade that has caused a humanitarian crisis, with widespread famine and cholera outbreaks affecting millions.
Houthi leaders immediately claimed responsibility for the drone attack, but US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed: “Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply.”
He said there was “no evidence the attacks came from Yemen,” though he did not offer any evidence for his theory of an Iranian strike.
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri — who was briefly held in Saudi Arabia in late 2017 — condemned the attack, saying it was part of a pattern of “aggression” against the kingdom, despite Riyadh’s bloody record in Yemen.
Germany echoed that “there can be no justification for such an attack,” but noted that the Houthis had admitted responsibility and did not mention Iran in a sign that Berlin has not swallowed Mr Pompeo’s version of events.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said that blaming Tehran for Houthi attacks on Saudi targets would not bring an end to the Yemen war, but talks might.
The US Senate passed a resolution last December demanding an end to all US assistance with the Saudi war because of the huge civilian death toll, though Britain and France continue to provide arms and logistical support.
“Having failed at ‘max pressure’ US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo turning to ‘max deceit’,” Mr Zarif tweeted.
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