It looks like Iran hit Saudi Arabian oil facilities

Many questions remain unanswered about the pre-dawn attacks on Saudi Arabian oil facilities that sent crude prices skyrocketing, but perhaps the most pressing is whether the trigger will be pulled on a military response.

This image provided on Sunday by the USA government and DigitalGlobe and annotated by the source, shows a prestrike overview at Saudi Aramco's Khurais oil field in Buqayq, Saudi Arabia. Iran denied it was to blame. Earlier estimates had suggested it could take weeks. "We want to find definitively who did this".

This image provided on September 15, 2019, by the United States government and DigitalGlobe and annotated by the source, shows damage to the infrastructure at Saudi Aramco's Abaqaiq oil processing facility in Buqyaq, Saudi Arabia.

But U.S. Ambassador to the world body, Kelly Craft, told the Council that emerging information on the attacks "indicates that responsibility lies with Iran" and that there is no evidence the attack came from Yemen.

Iran will never hold one-on-one talks with the United States but could engage in multilateral discussions if it returns to the 2015 deal on Iran's nuclear programme, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Tuesday, according to state television.

"If the USA backs off from its call, repents, and returns to the nuclear treaty it has breached, then it will be able to join the gathering of the parties to the deal (JCPOA) who hold meetings and talk with Iran, otherwise no negotiations will take place between the officials of the Islamic Republic and the Americans at any level, not in NY and not anywhere else", Ayatollah Khamenei concluded.

The market eased from its peak after Trump said he would release US emergency supplies and producers said there were enough stocks stored up worldwide to make up for the shortfall.

Khamenei believes talks are America's way of putting pressure on Iran.

Relations between the United States and Iran have deteriorated since Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear accord previous year and reimposed sanctions over Tehran's nuclear and ballistic programs.

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Trump said on Monday that it looked like Iran was behind the strike at the heart of the Saudi oil industry, but stressed he did not want to go to war. It was the worst such attack on regional oil facilities since Saddam Hussein torched Kuwait's oil wells during the 1990-91 Gulf war. They have also exposed the vulnerability of the pumping heart of Saudi Arabia's oil industry.

The attacks have raised questions about how the kingdom, one of the world's top spenders on weaponry, much of it supplied by USA companies, was unable to protect oil plants from attack.

The United States was still investigating if Iran was behind the Saudi strikes, Trump said, but "it's certainly looking that way at this moment".

"We assure the Saudi regime that our long arm can reach any place we choose and at the time of our choosing", Sarea tweeted."We warn companies and foreigners against being near the plants that we struck because they are still in our sights".

"In turn, we must prove that the policy of maximum pressure is worth nothing for the Iranian nation", Ayatollah Khamenei underscored. "The thinking here is that any attack on Iran must set back Iran's military ability 10 to 15 years".

The comments came amid speculation regarding a possible meeting between Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly meeting later this month.

"It used to be that only governments had air forces, but drones have democratized violence from the sky", says another analyst, Bernard Hudson, a fellow on Persian Gulf security issues at Harvard University, quoted in the Washington Post newspaper.

Trump affirmed he was ready to help its ally Saudi Arabia after the attacks that triggered a record leap in world oil prices.

  • Sonia Alvarado