Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has dismissed Washington's claims of his country's participation in a recent attack on Saudi Arabia's state oil company Saudi Aramco as an attempt to divert attention away from the real issues in the region.
"The US should seek to look at the realities in the region, rather than simply using distractions. We feel that the US government is trying to somehow forget the realities in the region", Zarif said.
Saudi Aramco's biggest oil processing facility was crippled during the attack on 14 September, severely cutting the country's oil output and causing global oil prices to spike. Although the Yemeni Houthis, who’ve repeatedly sent their drones to strike Saudi Aramco's facilities, claimed responsibility for the attack, Washington accused Iran of conducting it. Tehran denied involvement in the 14 September attacks and condemned the US accusations as "unacceptable and entirely baseless".
US President Donald Trump has stated that his country is "locked and loaded" to respond to the attack once Saudi Arabia points the finger at the "culprit" behind it. His Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was more forthcoming, accusing the Islamic Republic of being behind the most recent attack and many others against the Saudi Kingdom.
Saudi Arabia oil supply was attacked. There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 15, 2019
NBC News later reported citing an anonymous source that the US president was offered a range of options to attack Iranian oil facilities both directly and via cyberspace. At the same time, Politico reported that Trump was willing to avoid direct engagement with the Islamic Republic.
The incident was at first reported by local media as a drone attack on Saudi Aramco facilities, which forced the company to shut down two oil refineries at Abqaiq and Khurais, cutting the country's crude output in half for several days. However, an anonymous US official claimed in an interview with AFP that cruise missiles were used in the air strike.