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Defense minister denies Iran's involvement in Saudi attack

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Tehran, Sept 18, IRNA -- Iran's defense minister on Wednesday denied the US allegations on Tehran's involvement in recent attacks on Saudi oil facilities.

"These accusations are wholly, seriously and firmly rejected. It's easy to accuse someone without providing any proof. It has no value," Iran's Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami said the media on Wednesday.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo swiftly accused Iran of being behind the assault, without providing any evidence.

"If the US claims so, it's responsible for that claim. Everybody knows that Iran protects regional peace with determination," he added.

The pre-dawn attacks on Saturday knocked out more than half of crude output from the world's top exporter - five percent of the global oil supply - and cut output by 5.7 million barrels per day.

The Iranian minister stressed that the attack came from Yemen and that the Houthis claimed responsibility for it.

"It was something that happened between two warring countries. The Yemenis themselves have clearly stated that they launched the attacks. Its logic is clear as well. A country that has been suffering from war. Its population has suffered from attacks and a siege," Hatami added.

Yemen's Houthis, who have been locked in a war with a Saudi-UAE-led coalition since 2015, claimed responsibility for the attacks, warning Saudi Arabia that their targets "will keep expanding".

Amir Hatami reminded the world of a previous long-range attacks from Yemen, saying it's possible that they have increased their capability.

"Militarily speaking, the Yemenis launched attacks some two years ago when they shot a 1,200-km missile. The fact that after two years they have reached this precision is very clear and logical as well. It's clear that its due to the war between the two countries," he stressed.

Iran's defense minister said the current situation is what Saudi Arabia and the "Zionist regime" have been planning to "drag the US into a conflict in the region. They wished for this."

Saudi Arabia has promised to "confront and deal with this terrorist aggression", while US President Donald Trump hinted at possible military action after Riyadh concluded its investigation into the attacks.

Iran has warned of its "firm response" if the country is threatened.

"If our country is threatened in any way, we will respond firmly as you saw what happened with the US drone that violated the Iranian airspace," Hatami cautioned.

Iranian armed forces shot down a US spy drone after it violated the country's airspace in June.


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