Europe leaders blame Iran for Saudi Aramco attacks

Europe leaders blame Iran for Saudi Aramco attacks
2 min read
24 September, 2019
European leaders have pinned blame on Iran for a series of attacks on oil infrastructure in Saudi Arabia.
Johnson arrived in New York on Monday [Getty]

Leaders from Germany, France and the UK condemned Iran on Monday for attacks on oil infrastructure in Saudi Arabia earlier this month, but said it would stick a nuclear deal with Tehran which the US abandoned in 2017.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and France President Emmanuel Macron met in New York and issued a joint statement on claims that Iran hit two Aramco installations in eastern Saudi Arabia.

"It is clear for us that Iran bears responsibility for this attack. There is no other plausible explanation," the three leaders said in a statement. 

They said that Iran should "refrain from choosing provocation and escalation".

"The time has come for Iran to accept negotiation on a long-term framework for its nuclear programme as well as on issues related to regional security, including its missiles program and other means of delivery," the three European leaders said in a statement, referring to parts of an agreement Iran has broken since the US withdrawal.

President Donald Trump pulled out of a nuclear deal agreed with Iran in 2015 last year, with European countries trying to keep the agreement alive.

Following the attacks, Boris Johnson hinted that it might pull Iran out of the nuclear deal, while Macron also appeared to be considering the agreement, known as the JCPOA.

"I'm not married to the JCPOA," he said.

"It has to be said that the two main players are in the process of deciding to leave it. One has left, the other is telling us that they will leave."
 
Iran has denied carrying out the attacks in Saudi Arabia, an event which sent oil prices shooting up but Riyadh and other countries have linked Tehran to the strikes - said to have included cruise missiles.

Tehran has also been blamed on attacks on shipping in the Gulf.

Earlier on Monday, Johnson also attributed blame to Tehran for the Saudi attacks before the meeting.

"I can tell you that the UK is attributing responsibility with a very high degree of probability to Iran for the Aramco attacks," he said, cited by Britain's Press Association news agency on Monday.

"We think it very likely indeed that Iran was indeed responsible for using both UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), both drones and cruise missiles," Johnson told reporters.

"Clearly the difficulty is, how do we organise a global response? What is the way forward?

"And we will be working with our American friends and our European friends to construct a response that tries to de-escalate tensions in the Gulf region."