Iran Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei says ‘there will be no talks with the US at any level’.
Tensions in the Middle East have escalated following drone attacks on two major oil facilities in Saudi Arabia.
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.
Yemen’s Houthi rebels, 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”.
But US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo swiftly accused Iran of being behind the assault, without providing any evidence. The claim was rejected by Tehran which said the allegations were meant to justify actions against it.
Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, 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.
Here are all the latest updates:
Tuesday, September 17
Iran leader says there will never be negotiations with US
Iran will never hold talks with the US and Washington’s policy of maximum pressure on Tehran will fail, the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said.
“Iranian officials will never talk to America … this is part of their (US) policy to put pressure on Iran … their policy of maximum pressure will fail,” state TV quoted Khamenei as saying.
Japan’s Abe says he will meet Iran’s Rouhani this month in NY
During a meeting with members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, Abe repeated his intention of speaking with Rouhani on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, according to the NHK.
Abe added that he would travel to Belgium after the UNGA session and meet with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, the NHK added.
Saudi Arabia invites global experts to investigate attack
Riyadh said its initial investigations indicate that Iranian weapons were used in the attacks on its key oil installations and said it would “invite United Nations and international experts to view the situation on the ground and to participate in the investigations”.
“The kingdom will take the appropriate measures based on the results of the investigation, to ensure its security and stability,” a statement from the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
Saudi Arabia “affirms that it has the capability and resolve to defend its land and people, and to forcefully respond to these aggressions,” the statement added, calling the attack “an unprecedented act of aggression and sabotage” and an “egregious crime which threatens international peace and security.”
Price of oil jumps nearly 15 percent
Oil prices ended nearly 15 percent higher on Monday, with Brent crude logging its biggest jump in more than 30 years amid record trading volumes.
Brent crude futures settled at $69.02 a barrel, rising $8.80, or 14.6 percent – its largest one-day percentage gain since at least 1988.
In the United States, West Texas Intermediate futures ended at $62.90 a barrel, soaring $8.05, or 14.7 percent – the biggest one-day percentage gain since December 2008.
Monday, September 16
Trump says ‘looks like’ Iran responsible for Saudi attacks
Trump said it’s “looking like” Iran was responsible for the attacks on key oil installations in Saudi Arabia, but he said he doesn’t want war.
Trump said at the White House that the US is not looking at retaliatory options until he has “definitive proof” that Iran was responsible.
Still, Trump told reporters in the Oval Office that the US “is prepared” if the attacks warrant a response.
Putin proposes Russian missile defence for Saudi Arabia
Russia is ready to help Saudi Arabia following attacks on the Saudi oil industry if needed, Russian President Vladimir Putin said after talks with leaders of Turkey and Iran in Ankara and proposed Russian weapons for purchase.
“We are ready to provide respective assistance to Saudi Arabia, and it would be enough for the political leadership of Saudi Arabia to make a wise government decision – as the leaders of Iran did in their time by purchasing S-300 and as (Turkish) President (Tayyip) Erdogan did by purchasing the latest S-400 ‘Triumph’ air defence systems from Russia,” Putin said.
These Russian weapons would protect any infrastructure facilities of Saudi Arabia, he added.
Attack on Saudi ‘unprecedented’, says Pentagon chief
US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the recent attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities was “unprecedented” and the US, along with its allies, was working to defend the “international rules-based order that is being undermined by Iran.”
In a series of Tweets, Esper said he spoke with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) and the Iraqi Minister of Defence Najah al-Shammari, over the weekend
Rouhani: Saudi attacks a reciprocal response by Yemen
An attack on Saudi Arabia’s Aramco oil facilities was a reciprocal measure by “Yemeni people” to assaults on their country, said Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, hours after a Saudi-led coalition said the attacks were carried out with Iranian weapons.
“Yemeni people are exercising their legitimate right of defence … the attacks were a reciprocal response to aggression against Yemen for years,” Rouhani told a joint news conference with his Russian and Turkish counterparts.
Will the attacks on Saudi oil facilities cripple global supplies?
Saudi Arabia has tried to reassure the world that it will quickly recover from Saturday’s attacks on its oil plants.
However, the reassurance failed to stop oil prices soaring 19 percent – their highest-ever increase in a day.
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