The United States blames Iran for a fiery weekend attack on key Saudi Arabian oil facilities. The strike raises new war worries and has sent energy prices soaring. Iran denies responsibility, while President Donald Trump says the United States is ready to respond if necessary.
U.S. officials released satellite images of damage to Saudi Arabia’s crucial Abqaiq (ubb-KAK) oil processing plant and a key oil field. They say the attacker made use of multiple missiles and drone aircraft.
The United States claims the pattern of destruction suggests the attack did not come from neighboring Yemen, as Iranian-backed rebels there claim. A Saudi military spokesperson agrees, claiming "Iranian weapons" made the assault.
Iran rejects the charges. A government spokesperson says now there is "absolutely no chance" of a meeting between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and President Trump at the United Nations General Assembly next week.
Tensions in the Middle East have increased ever since President Trump re-imposed sanctions on Iran.
One U.S. official says President Trump is considering dispatching additional military resources to the Gulf—but that no final decisions have been made. An aircraft carrier is already in the area, as well as fighter jets, bombers, survey aircraft, and air defenses.
U.S. officials say that the damage done to the north-facing parts of the facilities suggest the attack came from Iraq or Iran.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi denied the U.S. claims again on Monday. He tells journalists the accusation is "condemned, unacceptable, and [absolutely] baseless."
(Smoke from a fire at the Abqaiq oil processing facility fills the skyline, in Buqyaq, Saudi Arabia on Saturday, September 14. Al-Arabiya via AP)