Four days after the double attack on oil facilities, Saudi Arabia unveiled on Wednesday (September 18th) the conclusions of an official investigation, while Washington announced new sanctions against Iran.
The staging was neat. In the midst of debris of "drones" and "cruise missiles" presented as remains of those that hit the two oil installations of Aramco , Turki al-Maliki presented to the press the first conclusions of an official investigation conducted at no charge. Less than four days after the double attack, the spokesman of the Saudi Ministry of Defense said that it was launched " from the North " and that it was " unquestionably sponsored " by Iran.
He said the sites were hit by 18 drones and seven cruise missiles fired from a location outside Yemen, south of Saudi Arabia, where Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the attacks. Turki al-Maliki, however, did not directly accuse the Islamic Republic of launching attacks from its territory. He said, however, that the Riyadh investigation will determine the exact launch location.
► Also read: Who's behind the attacks on Saudi oil?
Visiting the Saudi capital where he was to meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was more emphatic. " It was an Iranian attack ," he said, claiming that it bore " Ayatollah fingerprints " Ali Khamenei, the Iranian Supreme Leader. The head of the American diplomacy described these attacks as an " act of war ".
Washington still toughens sanctions against Iran
Less assertive than his ministers on Iran's responsibility, while confirming that he was the prime suspect, President Donald Trump announced on Twitter that he had ordered tougher sanctions against the Islamic Republic. These punitive measures, the nature of which is yet to be detailed, add to the unprecedented scale that Washington has imposed on Tehran since the United States withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal.
I have just instructed the Secretary of the Treasury to increase sanctions on the country of Iran!Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 18, 2019
Reacting to the announcement, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused Washington of "deliberately targeting" Iranian civilians. Donald Trump " admits that the United States is deliberately targeting ordinary civilians, " he tweeted, calling American measures " illegal " and " inhumane ".
Escalating US economic war on Iranians, @realDonaldTrump ordered SoT "to increase sanctions against the COUNTRY of Iran!"
It's Admission that is DELIBERATELY targeting ordinary citizens: #EconomicTerrorism, illegal & inhuman.
Stop war & terror. # Security4All.
In a telephone conversation with Mohammed ben Salman, Russian President Vladimir Putin " called for a thorough and objective investigation ," the Kremlin says. French President Emmanuel Macron also spoke with the strongman of the kingdom and will send, according to the Elysee, experts to participate in the Saudi inquiry. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has announced that UN experts have already left to work on the case.