News ID: 262838
Published: 0252 GMT December 11, 2019

UN can’t verify anti-Iran weapons claim in Saudi oil attack: Guterres

UN can’t verify anti-Iran weapons claim in Saudi oil attack: Guterres

The United Nations is “unable to independently corroborate” that missiles and drones used in September attacks on Saudi oil facilities “are of Iranian origin,” Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the Security Council on Tuesday.

The United States, Saudi Arabia and European powers blamed the Sept. 14 attack on Iran despite statements by Yemeni resistance that described the attacks as retaliation for Saudi-led onslaught on their country. Yemen’s Houthi group claimed responsibility for raids on Saudi oil giant, Aramco, according to Reuters.

Iran adamantly rejected allegations of involvement and said the attacks were a legitimate act of self-defense by Yemen, which has been under strikes by the Saudi-led coalition since 2015.

Guterres also said the United Nations examined debris of weapons used in attacks on the Saudi oil facility in Afif in May, on the Abha International Airport in June and August and on the Saudi Aramco oil facilities in Khurais and Abqaiq in September.

“At this time, it is unable to independently corroborate that the cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles used in these attacks are of Iranian origin,” he wrote in the report.

The attacks that targeted the Abqaiq and the Khurais oil plants caused a spike in oil prices, fires and damage, and shut down more than 5% of global oil supply.

Saudi Arabia has constantly denied the attacks would have any impact on the kingdom’s finances, with the government estimating that GDP growth would stand at around 1.9% at the end of 2019.

UN experts monitoring Security Council sanctions on Iran and Yemen traveled to Saudi Arabia days after the Sept. 14 attack.

Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir told reporters in New York in September that his country had consulted with its allies on what steps to take after the attacks.

“The United Nations sent people to be part of the investigation, other countries have sent experts to be part of the investigation,” he said then. “When the team that’s investigating has concluded its investigations we will make the announcements publicly.”

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of former president Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi back to power and crushing the Houthi movement.

The US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the war has claimed more than 100,000 lives over the past four and a half years.

The war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The UN says over 24 million Yemenis are in dire need of humanitarian aid, including 10 million suffering from extreme levels of hunger.


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