Khamenei rules out US talks | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 18, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:47 AM, September 18, 2019

Attack on Saudi Oil Heartland

Khamenei rules out US talks

Trump blames Tehran, but says does not want war as Riyadh demands response

  • US intel indicates attacks staged from Iran: report

  • Britain, Germany agree on need for international response

  • Air strikes kill 10 pro-Iran fighters in Syria

 

 

 

Iran’s supreme leader yesterday ruled out talks with Washington after President Donald Trump blamed Tehran for a crippling attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities.

Saudi King Salman called on governments around the world to confront the threats to oil supplies and global economic stability posed by the weekend attack. European allies said the crisis should be addressed collectively.

Trump said on Monday that it looked like Iran was behind the strike at the heart of the Saudi oil industry but stressed he did not want to go to war. Iran denied it was to blame.

“Iranian officials, at any level, will never talk to American officials ... this is part of their policy to put pressure on Iran,” Iranian state TV quoted Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as saying.

He said talks could only take place if the United States returned to a nuclear accord between Iran and the West that Trump abandoned last year.

US-Iran relations deteriorated after Trump quit the accord and reimposed sanctions over Tehran’s nuclear and ballistic programmes. He also wants Iran to stop supporting regional proxies, including Yemen’s Houthi group, which has claimed responsibility for the attack.

A day after warning that the United States was “locked and loaded” to respond to the incident, Trump said on Monday there was “no rush” to do so and that Washington was coordinating with Gulf Arab and European states. “I’m not looking at options right now. We want to find definitively who did this.”

“I’m not looking to get into new conflict, but sometimes you have to,” said Trump.

Britain and Germany agreed they needed to work with international partners to form a collective response and de-escalate tensions as efforts continued to establish exactly what happened, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman said.

Saudi King Salman said that Riyadh was capable of dealing with the consequences of attacks on its installations.

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that American officials had shared intelligence with Riyadh indicating that Iran has used its ground for the drone attacks. Saudi Arabia said an initial investigation showed the strikes were carried out with Iranian weapons. 

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Yemeni Houthi rebels launched the strikes in retaliation for attacks by a Saudi-led coalition that has been battling the Houthis for four years. The weekend strikes on Abqaiq -- the world’s largest processing plant -- and the Khurais oilfield have knocked out 5.7 million barrels per day (bpd), or six percent of global production, sending prices soaring.

Trump said he was sending Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Saudi Arabia soon, but he had not made any commitments to protect the Saudis. “That was an attack on Saudi Arabia, and that wasn’t an attack on us. But we would certainly help them.”

Overnight air strikes killed 10 pro-Iranian Iraqi militiamen in eastern Syria, a war monitor said yesterday, without specifying who carried them out.

 

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