Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, at a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, threatened Saudi Arabia to consider the drone attacks on Aramco’s oil facilities as a warning to end its war in Yemen – The Associated Press.
In the pre-dawn drone attacks – claimed by the Houthis rebels – aimed at two of Saudi’s major oil facilities, the kingdom suffered loss of approximately half of its crude output. Moreover, besides losing 5% of the global oil supply, Saudi also endured the reduction in output by almost 5.7 million barrels per day.
The video of Hassan Rouhani threatening Saudi Arabia at the Cabinet meeting was broadcasted by a state TV. Though, the Iranian President avoided addressing the allegations made against his country by the US and Saudi, claiming its role in the drone attacks.
The war in Yemen, which started in March 2015 has been continuing for more than 4 years now. In it, the Saudi-led coalition – backed by western powers – has been battling the Iran-backed Houthi rebels. However, in doing so the Arab coalition has been accused of conducting war crimes by bombing civilian areas and starving civilians as a ‘war tactic’, as per a United Nations’ report.
In the recent past, two significant attacks have taken place that shook Saudi’s national security from the ground up. The first attack was aimed at two oil tankers traveling near the Strait of Hormuz. When blamed by the US for involvement, Iran denied being responsible and claimed that the US lacked ‘factual or circumstantial evidence’ against it. Meanwhile, the Aramco attack was the latest in line that targeted two major oil processing facilities, following which the Saudi government decided to join US-led maritime coalition comprising of Australia, United Kingdom and Bahrain, to protect the Mideast waterways.
Iran or Not – That’s the Question
After Saturday’s Aramco attack, Iran denied any responsibility. On the other hand, the Houthi rebels – a militia group fighting in Yemen, backed by Iran – took complete responsibility. Nevertheless, it wasn’t the Houthi rebels, but Iran’s Hassan Rouhani who issued warning against Saudi Arabia citing Aramco attack, labelling it as a warning from the Yemeni faction against the kingdom.
Either way, Iran’s involvement is evident in the given circumstances and its dynamics with Saudi Arabia. Whether the Islamic Republic is causing the regional instability directly or indirectly – via its support for the Houthi rebels – is yet to be proven. The French government has sent experts to Saudi Arabia as a gesture of extending a helping hand to assist the biggest oil exporter in investigating the drone attacks.