Iran refutes US accusations over Saudi attacks

Published September 15, 2019, 4:29 PM

by Dhel Nazario, Jeffrey G. Damicog, and Rey G. Panaligan

By Agence France-Presse

Iran on Sunday dismissed as “meaningless” US accusations it was behind drone attacks on Saudi oil installations, suggesting Washington was seeking a pretext to retaliate against the Islamic republic.

Smoke billows from an Aramco oil facility in Abqaiq about 60km (37 miles) southwest of Dhahran in Saudi Arabia's eastern province on September 14, 2019. - Drone attacks sparked fires at two Saudi Aramco oil facilities early today, the interior ministry said, in the latest assault on the state-owned energy giant as it prepares for a much-anticipated stock listing. Yemen's Iran-aligned Huthi rebels claimed the drone attacks, according to the group's Al-Masirah television. (Photo by - / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)
Smoke billows from an Aramco oil facility in Abqaiq about 60km (37 miles) southwest of Dhahran in Saudi Arabia’s eastern province on September 14, 2019.  (Photo by – / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

“Such fruitless and blind accusations and remarks are incomprehensible and meaningless,” foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi was quoted as saying in a statement.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned Iran after Saturday’s attacks, which knocked out half of the kingdom’s oil production.

READ MORE: United States blames Iran for Saudi attacks, ‘pretend’ diplomacy

Yemen’s Iran-aligned Shiite Huthi rebels claimed responsibility, but Pompeo said “there is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen”.

Mousavi said the allegations over the pre-dawn strikes on the Abqaiq and Khurais in Eastern Province were meant to justify actions against Iran.

“Such remarks… are more like plotting by intelligence and secret organizations to damage the reputation of a country and create a framework for future actions,” he said.

Arch-foes Tehran and Washington have been at loggerheads since May last year, when President Donald Trump pulled the US out of a 2015 deal that promised Iran relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear program.

Since the withdrawal, the United States has slapped crippling sanctions on Iran as part of a campaign of “maximum pressure”.

“The Americans have taken the policy of ‘maximum pressure’ which has apparently turned into ‘maximum lying’ due to their failures,” said Mousavi.

READ MORE: Drones spark fires at two Saudi Aramco oil facilities