Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of ordering drone attack on oil pipeline

Saudi tanker Al Marzoqah was damaged along with a second Saudi vessel

After re-imposing sanctions, the United States had declared IRGC as a terrorist organisation and indicated that there was a credible Iranian threat that warranted diverting USA warships to the Gulf.

Saudi Arabia accused Iran of ordering the drone attacks on its oil pipelines.

India had bought about 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) of Iranian oil under the six-month US sanctions waiver. In this respect, the efforts of Barack Obama's administrations concentrated on rapprochement with Iran, and cooperation with what Obama regarded as the moderate wing within "Political Islam"; but still, it was significant that warm US-Israel relations were terribly shaken while Obama's negotiators were putting the final touches on a "nuclear deal" whose sponsors intentionally ignored what was taking place on the ground.

It added that it's "clear that (U.S.) sanctions are not sending the right message" and that "they must be hit hard", in reference to Iran, without elaborating on what specific targets should be struck.

"The US has set a precedent, and it had a telling effect: The Trump strikes on Syria when the Assad regime used Sarin gas against its people".

Absent a dialogue between Iran and the United States and Iran and the UAE-Saudi Arabia, however, the atmosphere is likely to remain one of confusion and anxiety, in which rhetoric about ramping up conflict could spur further attacks and uncertainty.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who also is defense minister and controls major levers of power in the Sunni kingdom, has not commented publicly on this week's incidents.

Other Saudi officials fired off similar tweets, ratcheting up pressure on the kingdom's regional arch-enemy amid heightened tension between Washington and Tehran over sanctions and US military presence in the Gulf.

The United Arab Emirates said an investigation was under way into the sabotage attacks, stressing it was committed to de-escalation during a "difficult situation" caused by Iranian behaviour in the region.

Some observers speculate Tehran is seeking to retaliate over Washington's decision in April to put Iran's Revolutionary Guards on a terror blacklist - a move created to stymie their activities across the Middle East. Though President Trump has swiftly warned Iran against any "misadventure", a fairly plausible explanation has been advanced by Yemen's Houthi rebels, admitting that they have targeted vital installations in Saudi Arabia, which leads a military coalition against them. At least 40 other people were wounded, according to Yemen's Health Ministry. On Thursday, residents scrambled to pull 14 wounded people from the rubble of a building.

Fawaz Ahmed, a middle-aged broker, told The Associated Press he saw the three bodies being retrieved from the rubble - a father, his child and his wife, all buried together.

A Saudi-led coalition has been at war with the Houthis since 2015, and carries out near-daily airstrikes.

The Times on Thursday said the escalation in tensions was further fuelled by American intelligence photos of Iranian boats equipped with missiles in the Gulf, which raised alarm about attacks on American naval ships in the area. "And what always worries me in these sort of situations you have in particular with Iran where stakes are made with regards to local attacks and in normal situations that would be risky".

The U.S. State Department has ordered all nonessential government staff to leave its embassy and consulate in Iraq. He also slammed USA sanctions punishing countries doing business with Iran.

Tehran has called the USA military presence "a target" rather than a threat, and said it would not allow its oil exports to be halted. Certainly, the United States and the Europeans at present are disunited.

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