UK News: Saudi Arabia shows 'material evidence' of Iranian involvement in oil attacks - - PressFrom - United Kingdom
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UK NewsSaudi Arabia shows 'material evidence' of Iranian involvement in oil attacks

21:15  18 september  2019
21:15  18 september  2019 Source:   news.sky.com

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The Saudis have displayed what they say are cruise missiles and drones proving Iran's responsibility for the recent attack on oil facilities.

Saudi Arabia shows 'material evidence' of Iranian involvement in oil attacks © Getty Saudi Colonel Turki bin Saleh al Malki displays pieces of what he said were Iranian cruise missiles and drones

The Abqaiq facility and the Khurais oil field were attacked in the early hours of Saturday, causing a reduction of more than half in Saudi Arabia's daily oil exports - more than 5% of the world's daily production.

Initially Houthi rebels - backed by Iran - were blamed for the attack. But in recent days, the finger has been pointed directly at Iran.

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British motorists expect petrol prices to fall as Saudi Arabia restores oil production The AA said that, had the hike persisted, it could have pushed the UK's average pump prices up to a level last seen in October 2013 . Fuel price hike fears A spokesman for the AA added: “Our fear, other than an escalation beyond the attack, is that retailer and supplier margins at the pump get even bigger as they pass on cost increases but take a long time to pass on savings from the fall in the wholesale price.” The US has alleged Iran was responsible for the attacks - a claim Tehran denies.

Cruise missiles and drones - what we know:

Saudi Colonel Turki bin Saleh al Malki displayed the wreckage of drones and cruise missiles he said had been used in the attack.

Colonel al Malki described the drones as "delta wing" models and the cruise missile was described as a "Ya Ali" type, with a small jet engine attached to it.

Saudi Arabia shows 'material evidence' of Iranian involvement in oil attacks © Sky News Screen Grab The drone displayed by Saudi Arabia matches one displayed at a defence show in Iran

Sky's defence correspondent Alistair Bunkall said Iran has spent considerable money and resources developing its drone fleet. It now has a range of around 30 different types of unmanned aircraft - some armed, others just for surveillance.

Saudi Arabia shows 'material evidence' of Iranian involvement in oil attacks © Other The Khurais oil plant was attacked. Pic: Aramco

"The drone displayed by Saudi Arabia in Riyadh matches one displayed at a defence show in Iran in 2014," he said.

Saudi Arabia joins US-led patrol; Iran says attack a warning

Saudi Arabia joins US-led patrol; Iran says attack a warning DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi Arabia said Wednesday it joined a U.S.-led coalition to secure the Mideast's waterways amid threats from Iran after an attack targeting its crucial oil industry, while Iran's president told the kingdom it should see the attack as a warning to end its yearslong war in Yemen. The kingdom's decision to enter the International Maritime Security Construct came ahead of a planned visit by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Saudi officials separately planned to share information about the weapons used to attack a Saudi oil field and the world's largest crude oil processing plant Saturday.

"Investigators have been examining a circuit board found in one of the crashed drones. That will help establish things like trajectory and origin.

"Given that Yemen has been ruled out, as a possible launch site, that would suggest short or possibly medium range cruise missiles were used from either Iraq or Iran."

Where were the weapons launched from?

Colonel al Malki ruled out Yemen - he said the weapons did not come from the south (ie Yemen) as they had a limited range (435 miles). Instead he said they came from the north, the direction of Iran. There have already been reports from the US that the weapons were fired from southwest Iran.

Saudi Arabia shows 'material evidence' of Iranian involvement in oil attacks © Sky News Screen Grab Slides from Saudi Arabia's powerpoint presentation on attacks it says were arranged by Iran

The colonel went on to say the Saudis have not yet pinpointed the exact launch site but are analysing the weapons and expect to find information on the drones that will give them the answer to this. When they have the answer, he said, they will tell the world.

The Latest: UK, US call for diplomatic reply to oil attacks

The Latest: UK, US call for diplomatic reply to oil attacks DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The Latest on tensions in the Persian Gulf (all times local): 9:00 p.m. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has agreed with President Donald Trump that there must be "a united diplomatic response from international partners" to the weekend attacks on Saudi oil facilities. Johnson's office said the two leaders spoke by phone on Wednesday. Britain has joined the U.S. and others in condemning Saturday's attacks on the heart of the Saudi oil industry, but says it's too early to say who is to blame. The U.S. alleges Iran launched the attacks, which were claimed by Yemeni rebels.

Bunkall said: "Despite them saying they don't quite know yet, I don't believe that. It's not that hard militarily to determine where these attacks came from. If the Saudis don't know it, then the Americans will do."

What other evidence was offered?

Eighteen drones and seven cruise missiles were used in the attack, Colonel al Malki said, but three missiles failed to hit their targets.

He also played surveillance video he said showed a drone coming in from the north.

Earlier the US released satellite images that showed damage largely on the north-facing sides of structures at the oil sites.

The colonel said: "This is the kind of weapon the Iranian regime and the Iranian [Revolutionary Guard] are using against the civilian object and facilities infrastructure. This attack did not originate from Yemen, despite Iran's best effort to make it appear so."

Is the attack embarrassing for Saudi Arabia?

Asked by Sky News' Mark Stone in Riyadh whether Saudi Arabia's air defences had failed, the colonel said the country's leadership continued to be "proud" of their air defences.

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He said: "Our air defences with the capability that we have…we save our nation, we save our country. If you think they are failing, we're very proud about our air defence."

However, Stone said: "From a military perspective this is deeply embarrassing for Saudi Arabia. Their air defences failed spectacularly and the consequence was laid out in front of the Saudi military spokesman.

"They clearly feel that the embarrassment is worth it because countering Iran, its influence and the danger they believe it poses is the priority."

So if Iran did do this, what does it show us about their intentions?

Iran has already shown it can create trouble in the Strait of Hormuz, a vital shipping lane for oil and gas, with its actions towards British-flagged ships there earlier this year.

Saudi Arabia shows 'material evidence' of Iranian involvement in oil attacks © NetStorage The attack targeted a major Saudi Aramco processing facility and oilfield in the kingdom's east

If responsible for the Saudi attack, it would display an ability to cause problems for the that country's oil industry too.

Because Saudi Arabia is one of the world's biggest oil producers, any supply problems there have an impact on the rest of the world.

Prices for Brent crude shot up around 20% when markets opened for the first time after the Saudi attack (although they settled later), so the attack shows how easy the attackers have found it to create larger problems for the global economy.

European leaders blame Iran for Saudi attack ahead of Trump UN speech

  European leaders blame Iran for Saudi attack ahead of Trump UN speech The leaders of France, Germany and Britain on Monday agreed that Iran carried out this month's attack on Saudi Arabian oil infrastructure and called on Tehran to choose dialogue over further "provocation". Britain, France and Germany joined the United States on Monday in blaming Iran for attacks on key oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, but the Iranian foreign minister pointed to claims of responsibility by Yemeni rebels and said: "If Iran wereFallout from the Sept. 14 attacks is still reverberating as world leaders gather for their annual meeting at the U.N. General Assembly and international experts investigate, at Saudi Arabia's request, what happened and who was responsible.

What is the US likely to do now?

The US, despite Donald Trump saying its military is "locked and loaded", is unlikely to want a major confrontation with Iran. As much as Mr Trump is portrayed as being a warmonger, he campaigned on ending US involvement in overseas wars. The last thing he wants is to be drawn into a conflict with Iran, especially as he starts his re-election campaign for 2020.

Strengthening economic sanctions is possible but the US has already imposed significant sanctions on the Iranian regime. They are having an effect but Mr Trump seems to underestimate the regime's resilience.

On Wednesday, Mr Trump told reporters that, despite having the "strongest military in the world", refraining from an attack was a sign of strength.

He added: "If we have to do something we'll do it without hesitation.

"We'll be adding some very significant sanctions on Iran - we'll be announcing them over the next 48 hours."

What has Iran said following the press conference?

An adviser to Iran's president was quoted as saying Saudi Arabia had proved "it knows nothing".

What is Britain's response?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has spoken with Mr Trump about the attack and "agreed that [Iran] must not be allowed to obtain a nuclear weapon", according to a No 10 spokesman.

They agreed that there must be a "united diplomatic response from international partners" to the attack. Mr Johnson earlier told the Saudi crown prince that the UK stands by Saudi Arabia and is committed to the country's security.

Boris Johnson calls for ‘Trump deal’ on Iran .
The Prime Minister said the existing deal had ‘many defects’, in a break from previous UK policy, and called for a new agreement. And, in an interview with a US broadcaster, he praised the confrontational business mogul-cum-president Donald Trump, who pulled out of the nuclear deal, as the leader to broker a new one. Mr Johnson’s calls for a replacement to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) deal quickly earned him praise from the president, who described him as “a winner”.

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