Report: US intelligence indicates Saudi Arabia oil attacks were staged from Iran
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Report: US intelligence indicates Saudi Arabia oil attacks were staged from Iran

Wall Street Journal says Washington provided Riyadh with assessment of airborne weapons used in assault but Saudis say not enough evidence it was launched by Iranians

Screen capture from a video broadcast on the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya satellite news channel showing a man walking through a parking lot as the smoke from a fire at the Abqaiq oil processing facility can be seen behind him in Buqyaq, Saudi Arabia., September 14, 2019. (Al-Arabiya via AP)
Screen capture from a video broadcast on the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya satellite news channel showing a man walking through a parking lot as the smoke from a fire at the Abqaiq oil processing facility can be seen behind him in Buqyaq, Saudi Arabia., September 14, 2019. (Al-Arabiya via AP)

WASHINGTON, United States — American officials have shared intelligence with Riyadh indicating that Iran was the staging ground for devastating drone attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil installations, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

The weekend strikes on Abqaiq — the world’s largest processing plant — and the Khurais oilfield have knocked out 5.7 million barrels per day (bpd), or six percent of global production, sending prices soaring.

While Washington has blamed Tehran, the Monday assessment on the origin of the attacks has not been shared publicly, the Journal said.

The US assessment determined that “Iran launched more than 20 drones and at least a dozen missiles,” according to unnamed sources.

“But Saudi officials said the US didn’t provide enough to conclude that the attack was launched from Iran, indicating the US information wasn’t definitive,” the WSJ added. “US officials said they planned to share more information with the Saudis in the coming days.”

This image provided on Sept. 15, 2019, by the US government and DigitalGlobe and annotated by the source, shows damage to the infrastructure at at Saudi Aramco’s Kuirais oil field in Buqyaq, Saudi Arabia (US government/Digital Globe via AP)

US President Donald Trump has said that the United States is ready to help Saudi Arabia, but will wait for a “definitive” determination on who was responsible.

“I’m not looking to get into new conflict, but sometimes you have to,” he said. “That was a very large attack, and it could be met by an attack many, many times larger.”

“Certainly, it would look to most like it was Iran.”

Iran-supported Houthi rebels — who are fighting a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen — claimed the strikes.

Riyadh has said Iranian weapons were used, but stopped short of blaming Tehran directly.

US President Donald Trump walks from the Oval Office to speak with reporters before departing on Marine One from the South Lawn of the White House, September 16, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Tensions between Iran and the US and its allies have threatened to boil over since May last year when Trump abandoned a 2015 nuclear deal and began reimposing sanctions in a campaign of “maximum pressure.”

Iran responded by scaling back its commitments under the landmark accord, which had promised it sanctions relief in return for limiting the scope of its nuclear program.

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Tuesday ruled out talks “at any level” with the United States.

The weekend attacks in Saudi Arabia have spiked tensions and prompted concerns about an escalation. Conflict in the Gulf region could put a large portion of global energy supplies at risk.

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