Houthi leader says Yemeni rebels will stop attacks on Saudi Arabia

Daniel Fowler
September 21, 2019

As to who is responsible for last week's attacks on Saudi oil infrastructure has led to accusations from different sides. The U.S. and the Saudis have blamed Iran, which denies any responsibility and has said that any retaliatory strikes would result in "all-out war". USA and Saudi officials rejected the claim, saying the attack had not come from the south.

Several administration officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have asserted that Tehran was behind the attack.

Officials are trying to determine if they can get navigational information from the debris that could provide hard evidence that the strikes came from Iran.

"The United States has sanctioned Iran's Central Bank and its National Development Fund, as well as Etemad Tejarat Pars, an Iran-based company, which has been found to hide financial transfers for military purchases", the statement continues.

Will tension escalate even further or will diplomacy defuse it?

Iran's Zarif accused Pompeo of trying to "dodge a US obligation" to issue visas for Iran's United Nations delegates.

Trump did not immediately elaborate on the sanctions but noted that they were the highest sanctions ever imposed on a country.

Iran's foreign minister Mohammed Zarif has warned Tehran is prepared for "all out war" if the U.S. launches a military strike on the country.

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"We don't want war", he told CNN in an interview aired Thursday, "but we won't blink to defend our territory". Mr Pence said the president will "review the facts, and he'll make a decision about next steps", adding: 'The American people can be confident that the United States of America is going to defend our interest in the region, and we're going to stand with our allies'.

Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir said on Thursday the attacks were an "extension of the Iranian regime's hostile and outlawed behaviour".

Earlier in the week, Dr Malcolm Davis, a senior analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, said America's reputation was on the line in light of all the war threats.

"There are still lots of things to sort out before we can see how to create the conditions for the United States and Iran to enter into a negotiation", the official said. "I think we've demonstrated that", he told reporters.

"The Iranians are now steadily breaking out from the constraints of the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) and building up material for a nuclear weapon".

It took the Saudis - and their USA allies - completely by surprise, penetrating the security cordon and temporarily knocking out roughly half Saudi Arabia's processing capacity, sending global oil markets reeling.

Despite being a relatively low-profile diplomatic player in the Middle East, China has close economic and energy relations with both Saudi Arabia and Iran. Today we did Central Bank, as you know, we'll see.

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