Saudi Arabia said it would produce evidence on Wednesday linking regional rival Tehran to an unprecedented attack on its oil industry that Washington believes originated from Iran in a dangerous escalation of Middle East frictions.
But Tehran again denied involvement in the Sept. 14 attacks on oil plants, including the world’s biggest crude processing facility, that initially knocked out half of Saudi production, according to Reuters report.
“They want to impose maximum… pressure on Iran through slander,” Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said according to state media. “We don’t want conflict in the region… Who started the conflict?” he said, blaming Washington and its Gulf allies for war in Yemen.
Yemen’s Houthi movement, an ally of Iran battling a Western-backed, Saudi-led coalition for more than four years, has claimed responsibility and said it used drones to assault state oil company Aramco’s sites.
However, the Saudi Defense Ministry said it will hold a news conference on Wednesday at 1430 GMT to present “material evidence and Iranian weapons proving the Iranian regime’s involvement in the terrorist attack”.
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Concrete evidence showing Iranian responsibility, if made public, could pressure Riyadh and Washington into a response, though both nations have stressed the need for caution.
US President Donald Trump has said he does not want war, there is “no rush” to retaliate, and coordination is taking place with Gulf and European states.
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said on Wednesday, in a call with South Korea’s leader, that the attack was a “real test of the global will” to confront subversion of international stability, state media reported.
His envoy to London, Prince Khalid bin Bander, told the BBC the attack was “almost certainly” Iranian-backed but: “We’re trying not to react too quickly because the last thing we need is more conflict in the region”.