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UN Unable To Confirm Iran's Involvement In Saudi Arabia Oil Attacks

By RFE/RL December 11, 2019

The United States has so far been unable to confirm Iran's involvement in drone and cruise missile attacks on two Saudi oil facilities in September, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said.

In a report presented to the Security Council on December 10, Guterres wrote that UN investigators examined debris of weapons used in the attacks on the Saudi Aramco oil facilities in Khurais and Abqaiq.

The report summarizing the experts' initial findings said they were not able to "independently corroborate" that those weapons were "of Iranian origin."

Saudi Arabia, as well as U.S., and European officials, accused Iran of responsibility for the September 14 bombardment, which knocked out half of the kingdom's crude production and fueled a spike in oil prices.

Yemen's Shi'ite Huthi rebels have claimed responsibility for the attacks. The group's backer, Tehran, denied any involvement.

Guterres's report noted that the Huthis "have not shown to be in possession, nor been assessed to be in possession" of the drones used in the attacks.

An investigation into the attack is continuing and will be submitted to the Security Council when finished, the UN secretary-general wrote.

Saudi Arabia said 18 drones hit the world's largest oil processing facility in Abqaiq, while cruise missiles struck the Khurais oil field on September 14. Another three missiles were fired toward Abqaiq but fell short.

The attacks shut down 5.7 million barrels per day of crude oil production, which is about 6 percent of total global supply.

The Saudi Defense Ministry said the attack was "launched from the north and was unquestionably sponsored by Iran."

It also identified the weapons used as Iranian Delta Wing unmanned aerial vehicles and Iranian-made Ya Ali land-attack missiles.

The Huthis have repeatedly launched rockets, missiles, and drones toward Saudi Arabia since 2015, when a Saudi-led coalition launched its military campaign against the rebel group in Yemen.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the fighting, and millions have been displaced.

With reporting by AP, Reuters, and the BBC

Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/un-unable- confirm-iran--involvement-saudi-arabia -oil-attacks/30320241.html

Copyright (c) 2019. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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