Iran sent a message to the US denying it was behind the attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure just as the Saudis prepared to present what the kingdom says is evidence of Iranian involvement.
In the note, sent through the Swiss mission, Tehran warned the Trump administration that it will respond to strikes or any other retaliatory measures against the regime.
“They didn’t hit hospitals, schools or markets”, Hassan Rouhani said in a cabinet meeting Wednesday, an apparent allusion to civilian deaths and other collateral damage in Yemen, where the Saudi-led campaign to oust the Iran-allied Houthis has led directly to a horrific humanitarian crisis. “They attacked an industrial center as a warning and a lesson for you”.
“It wasn’t Yemen that started a war”, Rouhani went on to say. “Saudi Arabia, the UAE, the US, some European countries and Israel waged a war in the region and destroyed Yemen”.
The Trump administration is preparing a declassified version of intelligence linking Iran to the weekend attacks on Saudi Aramco and expects to release the evidence to the public within 48 hours. Officials on Tuesday told the media that the US has pinpointed the “exact” location in Iran from which the strikes were launched. The Saudis, meanwhile, are set to release their own evidence, based in part on forensic assessments of wreckage including, reportedly, circuit boards from cruise missiles used in the attacks.
One US officials who spoke to Reuters “voiced confidence the Saudi probe would yield ‘compelling forensic evidence’ determining the origins of the attack” which, assuming you’re not inclined to push false flag theories, “exposed serious gaps in Saudi air defenses despite billions of dollars spent on Western military hardware”.
One Saudi security analyst said “the attack is like September 11th for Saudi Arabia”. There’s more than a little irony in that assessment.
“The United States should seek to look at the realities in the region, rather than simply using distractions”, Javad Zarif said Wednesday.
Both Zarif and Rouhani said they may have to cancel their UN trip if their visas aren’t issued “in the next few hours”.
“I’m not looking to meet him. I don’t think they’re ready yet. But they’ll be ready”, Trump said Tuesday, of a possible meeting with Rouhani in New York. “At the right time, they’ll be ready. I never rule anything out, but I prefer not meeting him”.
Khamenei ruled out talks with Trump on Tuesday.