RIYADH: The United States on Saturday blamed Iran for drone attacks that caused fires at two Saudi Aramco plants in the Kingdom.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also said there was “no evidence” the attacks on an oil processing plant and an oil field were launched from Yemen.
Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen have been responsible for scores of missile and drone attacks against Saudi Arabia, whose forces are part of a military coalition fighting the militants.
But Pompeo’s comments suggest this attack may have been launched from another country. Along with Yemen, Iran has proxy forces in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon - a policy that has long been blamed for causing instability in the region.
“Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply,” Pompeo said on Twitter. “There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.”
He said that while Iran’s leaders pretend to engage in diplomacy, Tehran has launched nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia.
“We call on all nations to publicly and unequivocally condemn Iran’s attacks,” Pompeo added. “The United States will work with our partners and allies to ensure that energy markets remain well supplied and Iran is held accountable for its aggression.”
The drones struck the plant at Abqaiq near Damman in the Eastern Province and the country’s second largest oilfield at Khurais, about 200 kilometers away.
The Interior Ministry said fires at both sites had been brought under control.
The Houthis said they had carried out the attacks and that 10 drones had been used.
The Arab coalition fighting to restore Yemen’s internationally recognized government said it was investigating who was behind the attacks.
Before Pompeo made his comments, Donald Trump called Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to reassert his country's “readiness to cooperate with the Kingdom, by all means conducive to maintain its security and stability.”
The attacks sparked widespread condemnation from around the world.
The Houthis have previously used drones to target civilian infrastructure in Saudi Arabia, including Abha airport in the south.