Saudi Arabia and Iran Exchange Threats After Oil Attacks

  • The Saudi government continues to insist that the blows were inflicted from the north, and not from the south, where Yemen's Houthi rebels are based.
  • The United States also believes that Tehran is responsible for the attack on Saudi oil facilities.
  • IRGC commanders warned the United States and Saudi Arabia not to attack Iran.

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.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) (‘Army of Guardians of the Islamic Revolution’ or Sepâh for short) is a branch of Iran’s Armed Forces, founded after the Iranian Revolution on 22 April 1979 by order of Ayatollah Khomeini. The Revolutionary Guards state that their role in protecting the Islamic system is preventing foreign interference as well as coups by the military or “deviant movements.”

The ministry also insisted that the blows were inflicted from the north, and not from the south, where Yemen’s Houthi rebels are based. The rebels took responsibility for what happened. Moreover, the investigation continues, its results will be published only after completion of all investigative actions.

Saudi Arabian Ministry of Defense has already made similar statements. On Wednesday, its representatives showed the wreckage of drones and cruise missiles used to strike at oil facilities on the territory of the country and said that all these weapons were produced in Iran and launched from there.

Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister, Adel al-Jubeir, told reporters on Friday that the country’s authorities are currently consulting with their allies, discussing possible responses to the attack. At the same time, the minister did not specify exactly which options are possible. “The kingdom calls upon the international community to assume its responsibility in condemning those that stand behind this act, and to take a firm and clear position against this reckless behavior that threatens the global economy,” Jubeir said.

The United States also believes that Tehran is responsible for the attack on Saudi oil facilities. Several American officials, on condition of anonymity, told reporters that the attacks were launched from southern Iran. On Friday, the Pentagon announced that it would send a military contingent to Saudi Arabia, whose goal would be to strengthen the country’s air and missile defense. The size of this contingent has not yet been determined, as well as the exact date of its dispatch. US President Donald Trump for his part announced new sanctions against Iran.

Officially, responsibility for the attack on Saudi oil facilities was claimed by the Houthi rebels in Yemen, who enjoy Iran’s support. Tehran itself, in turn, once again stated that it had nothing to do with what happened. In addition, the country’s armed forces threatened that Iran would destroy anyone who tried to attack them. “Be careful and make no mistake. Our readiness to respond to any aggression is definitive. We will never allow a war to enter our land,” said the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, Hossein Salami, opening an exhibition that shows downed American drones. “We will continue until the full destruction of any aggressor.”

The Houthi movement (called Ansar Allah “Supporters of God”), is an Islamic religious-political-armed movement that emerged from Sa’dah in northern Yemen in the 1990s. They are of the Zaidi sect, though the movement reportedly also includes Sunnis. Under the leadership of Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi, the group emerged as a Zaydi opposition to former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh, whom they charged with massive financial corruption and criticized for being backed by Saudi Arabia and the United States at the expense of the Yemeni people and Yemen’s sovereignty.

The commander of the Aerospace Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Amir Ali Hajizadeh, also reacted to the United States’ decision to send military aid to Saudi Arabia at the same event. Hajizadeh said the United States should learn from its own previous mistakes, and any attempt to attack Iran will receive a decisive answer. The IRGC is an elite formation that is part of the armed forces of Iran. The United States recently designated the IRGC a terrorist organization.

The attack on the oil infrastructure of Saudi Arabia was carried out on the night of September 14. As a result, two important facilities were destroyed, including the world’s largest refinery. Oil production in the Kingdom has fallen by about half, causing oil prices to skyrocket.

The responsibility was claimed by the Houthi Yemeni rebels, who have been in a state of war with Saudi Arabia for four years. The Houthis overthrew Yemen’s president, who was supported by Riyadh. The Saudis formed a military coalition to fight the war in Yemen and return Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi to power. During the conflict, the Huthis, supported by Iran, repeatedly launched rockets and drones towards Saudi Arabia, many of which successfully shot down air defense systems purchased by Riyadh from the United States.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, commenting on the events in Saudi Arabia, said that Tehran was behind the Saudi oil attacks, and the fact that the drones arrived from Yemen was not confirmed by anything. The United States considers Tehran guilty of a series of attacks on oil infrastructure in the region— and tensions between countries continue to increase.

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Benedict Kasigara

I have been working as a freelance editor/writer since 2006. My specialist subject is film and television having worked for over 10 years from 2005 during which time I was the editor of the BFI Film and Television.

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