© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
US alleges Iran behind Saudi oil field attacks, amid global rise in oil prices
The United States, US, on Monday revealed satellite images and intelligence reports suggesting that Iran was behind attacks on major Saudi Arabia oil facilities, a move that has reduced global oil supplies by 5 per cent and also made oil prices rise.
The attacks targeted Abqaiq, the site of the world’s largest oil processing plant, run by the Saudi state oil company, Aramco and also the Khurais oil field.
US Ambassador to the United Nations, UN, 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 in a Reuters report.
Saudi Arabia is the world’s biggest oil exporter, it also has a unique role in the global oil market as the only country with enough spare capacity to increase or decrease its output by millions of barrels per day, keeping the market stable.
In a tweet on Sunday, President Donald Trump accused Iran but suggested possible military action when the perpetrator was identified.
Saudi Arabia oil supply was attacked. There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 15, 2019
Oil prices climbed by 20 per cent in one day, the biggest jump within a one-day period since the 1990-1991 Gulf crisis over Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait according to a BBC report.
US Energy Secretary Rick Perry also blamed Iran for “an attack on the global economy and the global energy market”.
“The United States wholeheartedly condemns Iran’s attack on Saudi Arabia and we call on other nations to do the same,” he said in a speech to an annual meeting in Vienna of the U.N. nuclear watchdog IAEA.
He was confident the oil market would bounce back , “it is resilient and will respond positively”.
Tension in the oil-producing Gulf region has escalated this year after Trump imposed severe U.S. sanctions on Iran aimed at halting its oil exports.
However, Iran has denied a role in specific attacks, including bombings of tankers in the Gulf and previous strikes claimed by the Houthis.
However, U.S. allies question Trump’s strategy, arguing that it provides no clear mechanism to defuse tensions, creating a risk that the competitors could stumble into war.