News ID: 259138
Published: 0318 GMT September 23, 2019

UK should end arms sales to Saudis, avoid blame game: Iran

UK should end arms sales to Saudis, avoid blame game: Iran

Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi said on Monday that the United Kingdom should stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia instead of leveling accusations against the Islamic Republic, after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Britain believed Iran was responsible for a recent attack on Saudi oil facilities.

“The government of England, instead of carrying out fruitless attempts against the Islamic Republic of Iran, should take action to stop selling deadly weapons to Saudi Arabia, which is the request of many people in the world, and free themselves from accusations of committing war crimes against the people of Yemen,” Mousavi said.

Johnson had said earlier in the day that his country believed Iran was behind the attack on the Saudi oil facilities and added that London would work with the United States and European allies to de-escalate tensions in the Persian Gulf.

“The UK is attributing responsibility with a very high degree of probability to Iran for the Aramco attacks. We think it very likely indeed that Iran was indeed responsible,” Johnson told reporters on plane en route to New York to attend the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

However, French President Emmanuel Macron urged caution in attributing blame for the attack on Saudi oil facilities, according to Le Monde newspaper.

As he spoke to the publication while flying to New York, Macron said the drone attack has not helped galvanize diplomatic efforts to arrange talks between US President Donald Trump and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani.

The French President’s interview was published online on Monday.

Macron also underscored the opportunity for talks between Washington and Tehran as the global event brought both the US and Iranian presidents to New York at the same time, but acknowledged that "the chances of a meeting had certainly not increased."

On September 14, Yemen’s Houthi movement and their allies in the Yemeni Army deployed as many as 10 drones to bomb the Abqaiq and Khurais oil facilities run by the Saudi state-owned oil company, Aramco.

The unprecedented attack knocked out more than half of Saudi crude output, or five percent of global supply, prompting Saudi and US officials to claim without any evidence that it probably originated from Iraq or Iran.

The United States and Saudi Arabia have accused Iran of carrying out the attack on Aramco installations. Tehran, however, has rejected the allegations, with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif saying Washington seems to be shifting from a failed campaign of “maximum pressure” to one of “maximum lying” and “deceit” against the Islamic Republic.

The Yemeni army and volunteer forces led by the country’s Houthi movement have attacked refineries in Saudi Arabia in the past in efforts to strike at the regime’s major economic sector. The latest attack, however, hit targets that were about 500 miles deep into the Saudi territory, in one of the largest operations the Yemeni forces have launched so far.

The US-backed Saudi air campaign against neighboring Yemen has so far killed thousands of civilians, caused millions to leave or lose their homes, and sparked widespread starvation.

At the same time, British arms sales to Saudi Arabia have been a major contributory factor to the conflict in Yemen.

Since the war against Yemen began, the UK has licensed the sale of at least £4.7bn ($6bn) worth of arms to Riyadh.

Apart from the UK, Saudi Arabia’s other allies, including the US, have also been providing the kingdom with weapons in its war against Yemen. 

An American think tank said in April that it has found new data showing US arms deals with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are "dramatically understated" and billions more than previously reported.

The data collected by arms trade watchdog Security Assistance Monitor (SAM) shows the US has struck at least $68.2 billion worth of deals with the two countries since they started their war in Yemen.


Reuters, ISNA and Press TV contributed to this story.


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