Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of sponsoring oil-plant attack, says it ‘couldn’t have originated in Yemen’
Speaking to the press on Wednesday, a spokesman for the Saudi Ministry of Defense displayed what he said was wreckage from the projectiles used in the strikes on petrol plants in Abqaiq and Khurais last weekend.
The type of weapons used proved that the assault “could not have originated in Yemen,” Colonel Turki al-Maliki claimed. He said the capabilities of the drones and the cruise missiles have been known to Riyadh from previous attacks.
Accusing Iran of sponsoring the attack, the spokesman called on other countries to “acknowledge Iran's malign activities in the region.”
The attack was launched from the north and unquestionably sponsored by Iran.
He also presented surveillance footage from one of the oil facilities, claiming it depicted a drone in flight, though the UAV was difficult to make out in the video.Also on rt.com Did Saudi Arabia allow drone attacks on its oil facilities?
It wasn’t clear where precisely the attack originated, al-Maliki admitted. He said the government was “working to know exactly the launch point.”
The press conference came just as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo landed in Jeddah, where he is scheduled to meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to discuss the attacks.
Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the drone and missile strikes on Saturday, which caused a severe disruption in global oil markets and sent prices soaring upward by nearly 20 percent. The damaged refinery in Abqaiq was among the world’s largest oil processing facilities, while the Khurais plant sits on the country’s second largest oil field.
Does missile type prove anything?
The missile used in the attack could be a copy of the Soviet-designed cruise missile Kh-55, which Iran acquired from Ukraine and then developed into its own weapon, a military analyst and retired army officer Viktor Murakhovsky told RT.
However, this does not qualify as definitive proof that Iran launched such an attack, Murakhovsky said. It is “hardly a secret” that Iran sells weapons to the Yemeni Houthi rebels, he explained, adding that Tehran has spoken in support of Yemen’s right of self-defense.
Moreover, it is not difficult for Houthi forces to launch a cruise missile, so their responsibility cannot be ruled out.
“You do not need a narrow-focus specialist in order to use this missile. You need to input the launch mission data and carry out the launch, that’s all,” Murakhovsky said.Also on rt.com Riyadh gave NO PROOF Tehran launched oil-plant attack – but still ‘expects US to do its dirty work for them’
Doubling down on their claim of responsibility, the Houthis on Wednesday said that the strikes were launched from “three positions,” and added that the drones used would be “revealed today for the first time.”
Meanwhile, Tehran officials have dismissed the arguments presented at the Saudi press-conference as inconclusive.
The Saudi press conference was a “media disaster” for the country, said Hesameddin Ashena, an adviser to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, arguing the kingdom could not prove “what area and point [the strikes] were fired from,” or “why the air defense failed to thwart the attack.”
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