Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 9 August 2020

Boris Johnson blames Iran for Aramco attacks

British premier joins Saudi Arabia and US in dismissing Houthi attack claims

UK prime minister Boris Johnson has blamed Iran for the attacks on Saudi Arabian oil facilities and did not rule out a military response.

Mr Johnson, speaking to reporters on the aeroplane taking him to the UN General Assembly, said that there was a “very high degree of probability” that Tehran was responsible for the drone and cruise missile attacks on September 14.

The statement follows similar comments by the US and Saudi Arabia blaming Iran and rejecting claims that Yemen’s Houthi rebels carried out the attacks.

The attacks on Saudi Aramco's Abqaiq processing plant and Khurais oilfield caused disruption to the global energy supply and led to a sharp rise in the price of crude.

Mr Johnson is due to meet Iran's President Hassan Rouhani in New York on Tuesday, where the attacks will be top of the agenda.

“I can tell you that the UK is attributing responsibility with a very high degree of probability to Iran for the Aramco attacks,” he told reporters.

“We think it very likely indeed that Iran was indeed responsible for using both UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles], both drones and cruise missiles.”

He said the UK would be working with the Americans and Europeans to “construct a response that tries to de-escalate tensions in the Gulf region”.

Asked if military action was possible, he replied: “We will consider in what way we could be useful if asked and depending on what the exact plan is.”

The US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, has said all options, including US military action, remained on the table. Iran has warned of a limited war if there are retaliatory strikes.

Mr Johnson is also due to meet US president Donald Trump, who has ruled out meeting Mr Rouhani on the sidelines of the world gathering.

Updated: September 23, 2019 02:13 PM

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