London believes Iran is responsible for attacks on Saudi oil sites
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A week after the attacks on Saudi oil production, Iranian President Hassan Rohani strongly criticized the presence of “foreign forces” in the Arabian Gulf region [GAP] and announced that he would present a “plan of cooperation” to ensure safety.
“Your presence has always brought pain and misery to the region,” Rohani said of countries that have sent forces to the Gulf region, including the United States. “The further you get from our region, the safer it will be,” he insisted.
“From our point of view, the security of the Persian Gulf comes from within. The security of the Persian Gulf is endogenous, the security of the Strait of Hormuz is endogenous. Foreign forces are a source of trouble and insecurity for our people and the region,” Rohani insisted again, reacting to the Pentagon’s announcement two days earlier about sending military reinforcements.
Also, the Iranian President has proposed a “regional cooperation plan,” called “Hope,” whose purpose will be to ensure the security of the Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman with “help countries in the region. The details will be unveiled at the United Nations General Assembly.
As a reminder, the attacks targeting the Abqaiq treatment plant and the Khurais oil field, located in eastern Saudi Arabia, were claimed by the Houthi rebels who, active in Yemen, are supported by less politically, by Iran. However, there is every reason to believe that the latter did not have the capacity to carry out such strikes, which involved drones and cruise missiles.
According to the United States, attacks on Iranian oil sites have reportedly been carried out from Iran. And Mike Pompeo, the head of the US diplomacy, saw an “act of war,” which justifies the latest sanctions taken by Washington against Tehran and the sending of additional troops in the Middle East.
Saudi Arabia has spoken of “sponsored” attacks by Iran, without going further to avoid some complications in this case.
“The Houthis have announced that it was they who launched this aggression, it is relatively unreliable,” said Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, whose action in recent weeks has consisted to save the Iranian nuclear deal and to ensure that Iranians and Americans can dialogue.
The head of the British diplomacy, Dominic Raab, did not say anything else, this 23 September. “According to the information I have seen, I find it very unlikely and not credible to suggest that these attacks came from the Houthi rebels,” he told the BBC. “Before appointing officials, I want it to be absolutely clear, because it means that the actions we can take will be solid and as broadly supported as possible,” he continued.
But for the current tenant of 10 Downing Street, Boris Johnson, things are “limpid.” Indeed, he told reporters on his way to New York, “the United Kingdom attributes to Iran with a very high degree of probability responsibility for the attacks on Aramco.”
“We are going to work with our American friends and our European friends to develop a reaction that tries to relieve the tensions in the Gulf region,” then assured the British Prime Minister. “It is obvious that if we are asked, whether it is the Saudis or the Americans, to play a role then we will think about how we can be useful,” he concluded.
Prior to Mr. Johnson’s appointment as Prime Minister, even though he had accused Tehran of being behind the sabotage of several ships off the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom was coordinating with France and Germany to try to save the Iran nuclear deal. And it was even a question, after the seizure by Iran Stena Impero, a tanker flying the British flag, a “European” naval operation near the Strait of Ormuz to ensure the safety of shipping.
However, after the government reshuffle this summer, London finally decided to join Operation Sentinel, launched by the United States to ensure freedom of navigation in the straits of Ormuz and Bab el-Mandeb.
Anyway, the French president, Emmanuel Macron, has not followed suit of Mr. Johnson. “You have to be very careful about attribution; there are clusters of clues for the moment, but this shelling is a new military fact that is changing the ecosystem in which the region was and creating a new situation,” he said.