Saudi Arabia gives media a tour of attacked plants

Marco Green
September 21, 2019

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, also speaking to reporters, said the bank was Tehran's last source of funds.

Iran's foreign minister told CNN the Islamic Republic "won't blink" if it has to defend itself against any US or Saudi military strike, which he said would lead to "all-out war".

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has ruled out negotiations with the USA, as tensions mount between the arch-foes after Washington blamed Tehran for attacks on Saudi oil installations.

In tweets this week, Zarif suggested the attack on the Saudi oil facility was carried out by Houthi rebels as retaliation for the brutal war the U.S -backed Saudi coalition has waged in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia also flew journalists to its Khurais oil field to see the damage from the attack.

"One strike knocked out half the oil production, and another strike, you can imagine what it will do", he said.

At Khurais, reporters were shown fix work under way, with cranes erected around two burnt-out stabilization columns, which form part of oil-gas separation units, and melted pipes.

Around 1,100 Aramco employees work at the Abqaiq plant on a normal week, but until the company manages to restore normal output - which they estimate to be by the end of the month - they have 6,000 working 24/7. "This is a beehive".

14 Sept - Two of Saudi Arabia's major oil facilities, Aramco's Abqaiq and Khurais, are set ablaze. Mobile cranes and water trucks stood near the crumpled, mangled remains of a fire-damaged stabilization tower.

After meeting with allies in Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, Pompeo said there was an "enormous consensus in the region" that Iran carried out the attacks, despite its denials and Yemeni rebels' claims that they were responsible.

The Pentagon said the focus of its own response was to explore "potential ways to look at mitigating future attacks".

But Trump indicated he did not plan a military response, attacking both critics who thought the mogul turned president would trigger war and hawks seeking a military response.

But Pompeo said the USA was intent on finding a way out of the confrontation.

The coalition said the operation destroyed four sites used to assemble the unmanned boats and sea mines to "help protect freedom of maritime navigation", Reuters news agency reported.

President Trump said going into Iran would be a "very easy" decision, but he's showing restraint.

"Your house is made of glass and your economy is made of glass. Like the glass cities in the UAE".

Trump said he'll meet Friday with his national security advisers to discuss further responses to the attack on the Saudi oil facilities, which the USA has blamed on Iran.

Iran's foreign minister on Friday questioned Pompeo's remarks and listed repeated Iranian diplomatic initiatives. The kingdom has not yet said where the attack was launched from or what kind of weapons were involved.

Hoffman declined to speculate on the possibility of a USA retaliatory strike.

The Huthis have however previously hit dozens of targets in Saudi Arabia, and their rapidly advancing arsenal has exposed the kingdom's vulnerability despite its vast military spending.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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