Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Saudi Arabia Monday to meet with Saudi leaders. Putin also held talks with King Salman, as well as with Saudi Arabia over Iran and Syria. The leaders’ talks focused on the issue of oil production and the price of the product in world markets. Political analysts believe that tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia, as well as Turkey’s progress in Syria, are among the issues to be discussed at the summit of the leaders of the two countries.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, who traveled to Tehran to mediate between Iran and Saudi Arabia, met with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Sunday. The Supreme Leader praised the Pakistani government’s concern for peace and security, saying, “the Islamic Republic of Iran has for a long time presented a four-point plan to end the war in Yemen.” He added, “the end of this war in the proper way can have positive effects on the region.”
An Iranian tanker was hit on Friday in the Red Sea by two blasts, both of them, according to Iranian state media, caused by missiles. The incident took place off the coast of Saudi Arabia and soon raised fears of escalating tension between the two countries in the unstable region. The missile attack could not yet be independently confirmed, but the location of the Red Sea would be unusual— most hostilities involving Iran occur in the Persian Gulf.
Iran has stated that it opposes any possible military operations in Syria, and that the US decision to withdraw its troops from the north should be made sooner. The Foreign Ministry of Iran issued a statement on Tuesday referring to the possibility of Turkish troops entering Syrian territory. Such a move would not only address Turkey’s security concerns but also cause damage, they said. Iran has called US military presence in Syria “illegitimate,” and has insisted that the US decision to withdraw its troops “should have happened much sooner.”
President Trump has not renegotiated a deal with Iran after withdrawing the United States from an Obama era nuclear pact. The two countries are at loggerheads following Trump’s exit from the international agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions in exchange for lifting sanctions on the Islamic regime, though Trump has held open the door for future talks. Trump is quoted as saying “If we could work out something that’s meaningful, not a waste of paper that the other deal was, I would certainly be willing to meet.”
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has described relations with neighbors, and facilitating economic affairs, as Iran’s “top foreign policy priority.” Mr. Zarif made these remarks while answering questions from members in the Iranian Parliament. He cited his trip to Pakistan to congratulate Imran Khan after he became Prime Minister, saying he was the first foreign minister to do so.
An Australian couple that was detained in Iran has been released, albeit as a result of “very difficult negotiations” with Tehran, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said on Saturday. Jolie King and Mark Firkin, from the city of Perth on the west coast of Australia, have subsequently been sent back to their homeland.
Saudi Arabia is considering a proposal by the Houthi rebels for a ceasefire in Yemen, Reuters reported on Friday. Three other diplomatic sources and two well-informed sources told Reuters that the Kingdom was seriously considering some form of a ceasefire in an attempt to halt the escalation of the 4-year conflict in Yemen.
According to the IAEA chief, Iran has responded to some criticism of its “secret cache” of nuclear energy. The agency does not consider the description of the Iranian authorities insufficient but has declared it a step in the right direction. On Friday, news agencies quoted IAEA chief Cornel Feruta saying that the Islamic Republic is cooperating to clarify whether it has reported all its nuclear activities to the IAEA.
A spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry has described his French counterpart’s remarks regarding the situation of Fariba Adelkhah, a jailed dual national, “intrusive and unacceptable.” At the same time, the French foreign minister expressed concern that Iran’s decision to continue reducing its binding commitments was stressful.
On Tuesday during an annual leadership meeting by the head of the IRGC Intelligence Organization Hossein Taub Soleimani revealed in a rare interview that an assassination attempt had been made on his life. The identities of the suspects has still not been revealed. The assassination was planned for several years. Through the assassination it was hoped that it would spark an internal Iranian power struggle and trigger a religious war within Iran. The suspects who are Iranian were sent abroad and trained to make the attack.
The head of the Iranian Intelligence Service says an “Israel-Arab” plan to assassinate Qasem Soleimani has been foiled. Hussein Taeb said members of the team that were supposed to carry out the assassination were identified and arrested. Taeb has announced the failure of a plan to assassinate Soleimani, which he said had been “planned for several years” by the “Arab-Hebrew security services.”
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said he assumed “full responsibility” for the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a critic of the regime, but denied ordering the murder. “This was a heinous crime but I take full responsibility as a leader in Saudi Arabia especially because it was committed by individuals working for the Saudi government,” the Crown Prince said in an interview with the US TV program 60 Minutes on Sunday.
A spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen accused the Houthis of waging a “misleading media campaign.” The accusation was the coalition’s first response after two days of silence on the Houthis’ announcement of a major offensive near the Saudi border and the taking of prisoners.
Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman of Saudi Arabia has said that if other countries of the world do not come together to deal with the threat of Iran, then it will affect the supply of crude oil in the world market and the prices of oil could rise unexpectedly. In an interview with the American TV program, 60 Minutes, he said that if the tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia increases, it will affect the global economy.
Houthi militants claim to have captured many militants during a massive attack on the southern border of Saudi Arabia. So far, no independent sources have confirmed the news, and Saudi Arabia has been silent. Yemeni Houthis say they conducted the largest military operation against the Saudi-led coalition forces during the three days ending on Saturday, and have “liberated” hundreds of square kilometers of areas under their control.
The British ship Stena Impero, captured by Iran in the waters of the Strait of Hormuz, at the gates of the Persian Gulf, has left the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas to international waters, according to the maritime authorities on Friday. The Organization of Ports and Navigation of Hormozgan province, whose capital is Bandar Abas, announced that the ship left the port at 09:00 local time. The commander and crew of Stena Impero gave their formal and written commitment that they have no claims, despite the fact that the ship was seized. The judicial case against the ship remains, “open” in Iranian courts.
Speaking at the UN General Assembly, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the Islamic Republic would only negotiate with the United States if sanctions were lifted first. He reiterated that the free flow of oil would be provided if it was for all countries. Rouhani begins his speech at the 74th UN General Assembly on Security in the Persian Gulf and the Middle East.
French President Emmanuel Macron’s efforts to arrange a meeting between the US and Iranian leaders continued in New York on Tuesday. Hassan Rouhani described Mr. Macron’s efforts to lift US sanctions against Iran as a success, but Donald Trump said in a speech at the UN General Assembly that sanctions would not be lifted as long as Iran’s threatening behavior continues. Mr. Macron first met with Mr. Rouhani on Monday night. He said on Tuesday evening that Mr. Rouhani was accompanying British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to meet with the British Prime Minister.
In his speech to the UN General Assembly, US President Donald Trump is expected to explain his policy towards Iran. At the same time, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has praised Western powers’ statements on the Saudi oil facility attack and has demanded Iran’s international condemnation. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has rejected talks with the United States.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attack on Aramco. The United Kingdom is one of the countries participating in the US-led offshore Gulf security mission. According to the Associated Press, Prime Minister Johnson made his announcement and accusation on Sunday.
US President Donald Trump has reiterated his desire to resolve the conflict with Iran peacefully. Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani is also said to have offered a new proposal to resolve the dispute through a meeting at the UN General Assembly. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has added to his diplomatic efforts to settle the dispute with the United States peacefully. News Agencies on Monday announced a meeting between Zarif and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.
Saudi authorities said they were ready to take any necessary measures in response to an attack on its oil facilities. Riyadh continues to insist that Iran is responsible for last week’s attacks. The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it had reviewed the preliminary results of the investigation after the attack on oil facilities, in which it claims Iranian-made weapons were used in the attack.
Yemeni Houthis have offered to halt all attacks against Saudi Arabia if Saudi Arabia stops its attacks and the coalition it leads. The United Nations Special Envoy for Yemen welcomed the proposal, and described it as a first step towards ending the six-year war in Yemen. “This proposal could send a powerful message of the will to end the war,” Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths said on Saturday.
The Commander in Chief of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, Hossein Salami, warned against attacking his country, saying that any such attack would result in the destruction of the invader. The statement of Gen. Salami comes after Washington’s announcement to send troops to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, following the attack on Saudi oil installations last week. Tehran denied the allegations of involvement in the attack.
The US has announced plans to send forces to Saudi Arabia in the wake of attacks against the country’s oil infrastructure. Historically, before a war there is a provocation. However, looking at the attack trajectory, there are a few odd details in the scenario.
On Friday, US Department of Defense officials planned to present military options against Iran at a meeting with President Donald Trump. Last Saturday, Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities were attacked and severely damaged in two locations north of the country. The attack cut half of Saudi Arabia’s oil production and had an immediate impact on world oil prices. Although the Yemeni Houthi group claimed responsibility for the attacks, and said they carried out the simultaneous flight of ten UAVs, Saudi and US officials said the attack was carried out by Iran.
Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said today that it would be “all-out war” if Saudi Arabia or the United States dared to carry out a military attack on Iran. The already frosty relationship between the US and Iran has escalated in recent days, following attacks on two Saudi oil plants that Washington and Riyadh have attributed to Tehran. However, Tehran has maintained its innocence in as far as the attack is concerned, and it denies any involvement in any way whatsoever.
The Iranian Foreign Minister has wrarned that any attack on his country would be considered “all-out war,” after the US Secretary of State supported Saudi Arabia’s defense after the attack on Saudi oil facilities. Javad Zarif has said this after his US counterpart, Mike Pompeo, said that the attack on Saudi oil facilities was an act of war, that Iran’s actions were unbearable, and that the United States was following the recent attacks on Saudi Arabia’s crude oil facilities.
The Saudi monarchy experienced attacks against their oil production facilities in the last week. Tensions in the Middle East escalated following the drone attacks on the two largest oil facilities in Saudi Arabia. Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the attacks.
The global economic impact will be felt, since Saudi Arabia lost more than half of their crude output via the attacks. The nation is the number one oil producer in the world, holds 5% of the global oil supply, and cut output by 5.7 million barrels per day. last year, Aramco’s net income was $111.1 billion.
Saudi Arabia’s new ambassador to the UK has warned against hurrying to respond to Saturday’s attack on oil facilities in his country. Speaking to reporters, Prince Khalid bin Bandar Saud said the attacks were a blow to the world and their economy but warned that the Middle East could not afford more conflict.
The United States says it is assessing evidence of attacks on two Saudi oil facilities and stands ready to defend its interests. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to Saudi Arabia today to discuss the US response to attacks on Saudi oil facilities, Vice President Mike Pence said.
Tensions in the Persian Gulf have increased following Saturday’s drone strike on Saudi Arabia, the United States’ closest ally in the region. Critics of President Donald Trump say he needs to work with his western allies to ease tensions in the Middle East.
Saturday’s attack on Saudi oil facilities has disrupted Saudi refinery production. Aramco is trying to make orders for its oil deliveries. Saudi Arabia is said to have been forced to buy low-sulfur diesel. The extent of the damage to the Saudi oil facilities is still unclear. Some experts believe it could take several months to rebuild and repair the damage caused by the attack on the refinery. The question in the global energy markets is currently about Saudi Arabia’s ability to carry out oil orders and refinery products.
Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, says that if the US goes back to the nuclear deal, it can negotiate with Iran like other parties. Otherwise, he said, “Iranian officials, at any level, will never talk to American officials. This is part of their policy to put pressure on Iran.” Khamenei added, “their policy of maximum pressure will fail.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hosted his Russian and Iranian counterparts in Ankara on Monday. They came together for the fifth time since 2017 to find a political solution to the Syrian crisis. As the last major area under Syrian control, Idlib is under the spotlight. All three countries emphasized the need to find a political solution to the Syrian crisis and maintain its territorial integrity. The Ankara summit ended, but to no avail.
US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry accused Iran of involvement in a drone attack on Saudi oil facilities at the International Atomic Energy Agency’s annual meeting in Vienna. He called the attacks “an attack on the global economy and the global energy market.”
Donald Trump, in his first response to Saturday’s attack on Saudi oil facilities that have seriously disrupted oil production, said the United States is ready to take military action if suspicions are confirmed. Houthi Yemeni insurgents fighting the Saudi-led coalition have claimed responsibility for the attack, but the US says the attacks were the work of Iran.
Though President Trump did not openly state whom he believes is the perpetrator of the heinous attack on the Saudi Arabia oil plants, his top diplomat, Mike Pompeo, has since Saturday asserted that the attack was carried out from Iran, and not Yemen, as the world was initially made to believe. Trump tweeted Sunday he was “locked and loaded depending on verification.”
Saudi Arabia cut oil and gas production following drone strikes on its two main oil facilities, which are run by state-owned company Saudi Aramco. Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said the attack had reduced crude oil production by 5.7 million barrels per day— about half of royal production.
Iranian Revolutionary Guard Commander Amir Ali Hajizadeh has said that US bases and aircraft carriers are within Iran’s missile range. This was in reaction to Washington accusing Iran of carrying out a drone attack on a Saudi Aramco oil plant.
Saudi Arabia’s state-run media reports that the country’s largest oil company, Aramco, has caught fire after drone strikes in two major oil installations. Another drone strike also set fire to the Khurais oil field on the west side. However, the Saudi Press Agency says the fire has now been controlled in both installations.
Australia confirmed on Wednesday that three of its citizens are being held in Iran. Two women with dual Australian-British citizenship and the Australian boyfriend of one of them are being held for unknown reasons. The Australian government confirms that it is taking steps to pursue the case.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, in a telephone call with his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, said that talks with the United States would be “meaningless,” unless sanctions are lifted. Rouhani also said that “if agreements with Europe are finalized, we’re ready to return to JCPOA commitments, and a meeting between Iran and the 5+1 is only possible when sanctions are lifted.”
FIFA announced on Wednesday that it would “soon” send a delegation to Iran to investigate the issue of women’s entry into football stadiums. The FIFA decision came shortly after a female football fan in Iran died after self-immolation. Sahar Khodayari, who was prosecuted for attempting to enter the stadium, committed suicide. The woman on social media became known as the “blue girl” on social media.
Majid Takht-Ravanchi, Iran’s Ambassador to the United Nations, has said that Iran will not negotiate with the United States, despite John Bolton’s ouster. The day before, US President Donald Trump announced that he had fired Bolton as US National Security Adviser. Mr. Bolton is a hard-line figure and a strong supporter of the MEK in the White House.