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Iran refutes US accusations over Saudi attacks
  • | AFP | September 16, 2019 08:54 AM
Iran on Sunday dismissed US accusations it was behind drone attacks on Saudi oil installations, suggesting Washington was seeking a pretext to retaliate against the Islamic republic.

The Saturday morning attacks, claimed by Yemen's Huthi rebels, knocked out half of Saudi Arabia's crude production (AFP Photo/-)

"Such fruitless and blind accusations and remarks are incomprehensible and meaningless," foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi was quoted as saying in a statement.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned Iran after Saturday's attacks, which knocked out half of Saudi Arabia's oil production.

Yemen's Iran-aligned Huthi rebels claimed responsibility for the drone strikes, but Pompeo said "there is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen".

"The United States will work with our partners and allies to ensure that energy markets remain well supplied and Iran is held accountable for its aggression," the top US diplomat tweeted.

Mousavi said the US allegations over the pre-dawn strikes on Abqaiq and Khurais in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province were meant to justify actions against Iran.

"Such remarks... are more like plotting by intelligence and secret organisations to damage the reputation of a country and create a framework for future actions," he said.

Tehran and Washington have been at loggerheads since May last year when President Donald Trump pulled out of a 2015 multilateral deal that promised Iran relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear programme.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani accused Washington of diverting blame for the war in Yemen, where US ally Saudi Arabia leads a military coalition that has regularly carried out air strikes.

"Today, witness that innocents die every day in Yemen ... Americans, instead of blaming themselves -- and confessing that their presence in the region is creating problems -- blame the region's countries or Yemen's people," Rouhani said.

"If we want there to be real security in the region, the solution is that America's aggression cease," Iran's president added, before leaving for Ankara to attend a trilateral meeting on Syria with Turkey and Russia.

"We believe the region's issues can be solved through talks in Yemen, Yemeni-Yemeni negotiations -- they must decide for themselves. The bombardment of Yemeni people must stop," Rouhani said.

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