Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says the recent retaliatory attack by Yemen’s armed forces against the Aramco oil facilities in Saudi Arabia was a warning that should be taken seriously by Riyadh.
“Yemenis have not targeted a hospital, a school, or a grocery market [as Saudis did]; why are you so upset?” Rouhani told a Wednesday cabinet session.
“They have attacked an industrial center to warn you! Learn from this warning,” he added, referring to the recent drone attacks which paralyzed Saudi Arabia’s oil industry, halving its daily oil output.
Attacks by 10 Yemeni drones on Saudi Arabia’s key oil facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais have shut down about 50 percent of the kingdom’s crude and gas production, cutting the state oil giant’s crude oil supply by around 5.7 million barrels per day.
An informed Saudi source says the damages inflicted on the Aramco oil facilities in the recent attacks are so massive that it is not clear when the country’s oil output can return to normal.
Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said Tuesday Riyadh does not yet know who were behind the highly disruptive attacks, which sent crude prices skyrocketing.
The remarks come as the United States has tried to build its case that Iran was behind the attacks. Iran has denied being behind the assaults, which knocked out half of Saudi Arabia’s oil production.
In his Wednesday remarks, Rouhani once again rejected the US’ accusations as baseless and groundless, saying the US’ “maximum pressure” policy has turned into “maximum accusations”.
President Rouhani said Washington’s “maximum pressure” policy is coming to an end.
“Of course, this pressure has created hardship for people, but this maximum pressure has reached its apex and is poised to drop,” he noted.
He said the Americans cannot achieve their objectives through the “maximum pressure” approach.
“I’m telling US officials that talks under maximum pressure is impossible, and if you are honestly after talks, all pressure on Iran should stop,” he noted.
President Rouhani also touched upon the Iran nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
“Iran still remains committed to its obligations under the JCPOA and International Atomic Energy Agency agents are still present at Iran’s nuclear centers and keep monitoring [Iran’s activities],” he said.
President further referred to Iran’s policy of boosting relations with neighbouring countries.
“As the Islamic Republic of Iran has friendly, brotherly and cordial relations with all of its neighbours in the north, east and west, it seeks to have cordial ties with its southern neighbours as well,” President Rouhani noted.
He said Iran has never wanted conflict in the region, urging all to work towards establishing peace and security in the region.
The president further said there are two opposing fronts in the region now.
“On the one hand, some regional countries are trying to establish peace and security and combat unrest and terrorists’ movements; on the other, in another corner of the region we are seeing warmongering and efforts to fuel the flames [of unrest],” he said.
He then referred to the fifth summit of Iran, Russia and Turkey as part of the trend of Astana talks aimed at securing a ceasefire in Syria. The president said the negotiations are aimed at establishing peace and security in Syria, helping Syrian refugees return to their homeland and fighting the remnants of terror groups in the region.