Saudi Arabia Slams Houthi Attacks on Oil Stations

US team suggests Iran behind ship sabotage

The stations are connected to a pipeline that runs from the kingdom's oil-rich Eastern Province to the Red Sea port of Yanbu.

Saudi Arabia shared the concerns of its fellow Sunni Muslim ally that Shi'ite Iran has for a long time been undermining stability in the region, Gargash said, and the USA commitment to its allies in the region is "very strong".

May 8: Iran threatens to enrich its uranium stockpile closer to weapons-grade levels starting July 7 if world powers fail to negotiate new terms for its nuclear deal.

Mr Philippe also addressed the ongoing unease over French arms sales to Saudi Arabia, a particularly thorny issue for the government. "Our goal is to respond to the crimes they are committing everyday against the Yemeni people". It added that Saudi Aramco's oil and gas supplies were not affected.

Attacks such as the one on Saudi Aramco's pumping stations do happen occasionally.

However, a clash could prove bearish if it prompts Saudi Arabia to ramp up supply "given the kingdom's sizable amount of unused output capacity", Jim Ritterbusch of Ritterbusch and Associates said in a note.

The Trump administration's sanctions are created to choke off Iran's oil exports, its main source of revenues, in an effort to force Iran to accept more stringent limits on its nuclear and missile programs.

The two oil pumping stations are more than 500 miles from Yemen's northern border with the kingdom.

The rebels have targeted Riyadh with missiles and used drones to disrupt air traffic at Saudi airports near the Yemen border.

That move higher comes as the market waits for a report from the American Petroleum Institute (API), an industry group, which is expected to show USA crude stockpiles fell by 800,000 barrels last week, their second decline in a row, according to analysts in a Reuters poll. "And if we did that, we'd send a hell of a lot more troops than that", Trump told reporters.

- The New York Times reports the White House is reviewing military plans that could result in sending 120,000 US troops to the Middle East if Iran attacks American forces or steps up work on nuclear weapons.

The U.S. Energy Department said on Monday that it was confident global oil markets are well supplied. "The Iranian nation has chosen the path of resistance", he said in comments carried by Iran's state TV.




At a Tuesday evening gathering, he reportedly added: "This is not a military confrontation, because no war is going to happen".

The United States also is deploying an aircraft carrier strike group and B-52 bombers into the region in response to the still-unspecified Iran threat, further ramping up tensions a year after President Donald Trump withdrew America from Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers.

For Ibrahim Ban Naji, a Yemeni observer, the odd timing of the Houthi drone attack that targeted Saudi Arabia raised a series of questions particularly as no signs of military escalation were reported in Hodeidah, where pro-Houthi forces actually began unilateral redeployment two days ago.

Satellite images obtained Tuesday by the AP showed no visible damage to the vessels, and Gulf officials have refused to say who they suspected was responsible.

USA national security agencies believe proxies sympathetic to or working for Iran may have sabotaged the tankers off the UAE coast rather than Iranian forces themselves, a US official familiar with the latest US assessments said on Tuesday.

USA national security agencies believe proxies sympathetic to or working for Iran may have been behind it, a US official has said. The official was not authorized to discuss the investigation and thus spoke on condition of anonymity.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said that "extremist individuals" in the US government were pursuing unsafe policies and that Tehran is not seeking confrontation.

However, he blamed "Iranian behaviour" for Gulf tensions.

The Ministry of Defense said the Méndez Núñez, with 215 sailors aboard, will not cross the Strait of Hormuz into the Gulf with the USS Abraham Lincoln.

Net U.S. crude imports fell last week by 106,000 barrels per day.

Karimi reported from Tehran, Iran.

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