عربي | كوردى



Saudis blame Iran for drone attack amid calls for US strikes

Saudis blame Iran for drone attack amid calls for US strikes

2019/05/16 | 21:35

(Hatha al-Youm | Iraq News)-

Saudi Arabia on Thursday blamed Tehran for a drone attack by

Yemen’s rebels that knocked out a key oil pipeline and a newspaper close to the

palace called for the US to carry out “surgical” strikes on Iran, adding a new

layer of tension to the standoff in the Arabian Gulf, AP reported.Tensions have flared in recent weeks after the US sent

warships and bombers to the region to counter an alleged threat from Iran. Four

oil tankers were targeted in sabotage attacks Sunday off the coast of the

United Arab Emirates, and drones struck a Saudi oil pipeline Tuesday in an

attack claimed by Iran-aligned Houthi rebels.The crisis is rooted in President Donald Trump’s decision

last year to withdraw the US from the 2015 nuclear accord between Iran and

world powers, and impose massive sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy.Saudi Arabia’s deputy defense minister, Prince Khalid bin

Salman, tweeted that the drone attack on two Saudi Aramco pumping stations

“proves that these militias are merely a tool that Iran’s regime uses to

implement its expansionist agenda in the region.”A state-aligned Saudi newspaper went further, running an

editorial calling for “surgical” US strikes on Iran in retaliation. Iran has

been accused by the US and the UN of supplying ballistic missile technology and

arms to the Houthis, which Tehran denies.The Arab News editorial, published in English, said it’s

“clear that (US) sanctions are not sending the right message” and that “they

must be hit hard,” without elaborating on what specific targets should be

struck.The Saudi-led coalition conducted airstrikes on Houthi

targets in the rebel-held capital, Sanaa, killing at least six people,

including four children. At least 40 other people were wounded, according to

Yemen’s Health Ministry.Residents of Sanaa scrambled to pull wounded people from the

rubble of a building hit by the airstrikes. Fawaz Ahmed told The Associated

Press he saw three bodies in the rubble — a man, a woman and a child, all

buried together.The coalition has been at war with the Houthis since 2015,

carrying out near-daily airstrikes. The drone attacks on the pipeline marked

one of the rebels’ deepest and most significant strikes inside Saudi territory

since the conflict began.Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said during a visit to

Tokyo on Thursday that Iran has the right to respond to the “unacceptable” US

sanctions, but has exercised “maximum restraint.”Iran recently said it would resume enriching uranium at

higher levels if a new nuclear deal is not reached by July 7. That would

potentially bring it closer to being able to develop a nuclear weapon,

something Iran insists it has never sought.A senior diplomat from the United Arab Emirates said late

Wednesday it was “very committed to de-escalation” after the alleged sabotage

of the oil tankers off its coast. The UAE is a close Saudi ally and a leading

member of the coalition fighting in Yemen.Anwar Gargash, the UAE minister of state for foreign

affairs, declined to directly blame Iran for the attack, but he repeatedly

criticized Tehran. Officials have not said who they think was behind the tanker

attacks, which did not cause any injuries.Last week, US officials said they had detected signs of

Iranian preparations for potential attacks on US forces and interests in the

Middle East, but Washington has not publicly provided any evidence to back up

claims of an increased Iranian threat.A senior British officer in the US-backed coalition fighting

the ISIS group told reporters earlier this week that there had been no

increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and Syria. Maj. Gen. Chris

Ghika’s comments exposed international skepticism over the US military buildup.The US State Department this week ordered all nonessential

government staff to leave Iraq, and Germany and the Netherlands both suspended

their military assistance programs in the country in the latest sign of

tensions.The movement of diplomatic personnel is often done in times

of conflict, but what is driving the decisions from the White House remains

unclear. Iraq is home to powerful pro-Iranian militias, while also hosting more

than 5,000 American troops. The US military’s Central Command said its troops

were on high alert, without elaborating.Meanwhile, Al-Jazeera reported that Qatar is trying to

“defuse escalating tensions” by sending its foreign minister, Sheikh Mohammed

bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, to Tehran in recent days to speak with his Iranian

counterpart. The Qatar-funded satellite news broadcaster cited an anonymous

official for the report, adding that the US was aware of the trip in advance.Qatar hosts the forward headquarters of the Central Command

at its vast Al-Udeid Air Base. Several of the B-52 bombers ordered by the White

House to the region amid the latest escalation between Washington and Tehran

are stationed there.Qatar has grown closer to Iran diplomatically in the past

two years after four Arab nations, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE, cut ties

to protest its regional policies.









TRENDING News



Latest News Today






Videos and Photos


TRENDING NOW